A Massachusetts school district is threatening to cut its entire athletic program–as well as all other after-school activities–in order to make up a budget shortfall. Tommy from Quincy could not be reached for comment.
Facing a $1.8 million budget gap despite dropping 44 staff positions including some teachers, School Committee members said they had little choice but to eliminate sports, a move that would be a first in Massachusetts’ budget crunch. But even as members of the panel insisted their decision was no idle threat, many in town were skeptical, and suspected that officials are trying to exploit residents’ fondness for high school sports to galvanize public support for a possible tax override later this spring, and pressure teachers into accepting contract concessions.
“I can’t see it happening,’’ said Christine Hernon, as she watched two of her children compete yesterday in a track meet at Mansfield High School, which boasts top-flight sports facilities. “People will start sending their kids to private schools. It doesn’t make sense.’’ –Boston Herald.
My high school made this exact same threat as another tax package for schools was headed for another ballot. The levy failed, and weeks later the district announced that they had “found” almost $2 million in their budget to keep sports. Now, I’m not familiar with the uniquities of the Mansfield situation, but this song and dance sounds awfully familiar. Besides, high school without sports would be the most dreadful experience ever, and creates an obviously slew of other issues, both in the school and the community.
There’s another point to be made here, if I could put on my teabagging pants for a second–public school districts have no incentive to operate efficiently (nor do their respective athletic departments, for that matter). Even if the parents make good on their threats to move their kids to public schools, they’ll still have to pay district taxes, so the schools don’t care. It’s somewhat ironic that this district seems eager to shut down competition for its students while benefiting from the fact that it has no true competition of its own. Thanks to Matt Hinton for the heads-up.