Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Message from the Athletic Director

In recent days, I have received many emails and phone calls regarding the potential cuts to the Athletic Department. This is an uneasy time for teachers, parents, students and concerned community members. As you all know, these tough economic times have hit the schools very hard. I can tell you firsthand, we look much different today than we did a year ago and drastically different than we did in 2008. Make no mistake, these cuts have had an impact on our schools. If you have questions on the overall budget, please check out this link so that you can get a better understanding of where we stand. From an athletic standpoint, our budget has decreased every year since 2008, and we are now left with a bare bones budget that basically has nothing in it except coaching salaries, insurance and mandated equipment reconditioning. The rest of our budget is met by user fees, gate receipts and fundraising. Without additional revenue, the Athletic Department will be facing a cut of more than $40,000. Quite frankly, there is nowhere left to cut without losing important programs. We have worked very hard over the last several weeks to come up with answers as to how we will address this potential cut. I must say every solution hurts. We have made no definitive decisions, but we want to be transparent, and let you know what is on the table at this point. The following 3 options are listed in no particular order but they are the areas we have identified at this point. 1) Elimination of all freshmen sports 2) Elimination of Boys/Girls Ice Hockey (due to the high cost relative to participation), Elimination of winter track (due to the existence of spring track), Elimination of winter cheerleading (due to the existence of fall cheerleading), Elimination of golf (funding for this program was restored just prior to lacrosse), Elimination of funding to Lacrosse (this was the last sport funded) 3) Increase user fees from $250/$50/$50 to $275, $150, $100 (Requires School Committee approval) Every one of these options is bad. Freshmen sports are so important for the healthy assimilation to high school for students. In fact, my goal for this upcoming year was to make freshmen sports non-cut, so that every student could participate if they wanted. Eliminating entire sports programs will devastate students who have worked so hard in their respective sport. And increasing user fees will potentially prevent from students from having the same access as their peers. Some have asked me why are the cuts coming in the athletic budget. The answer to that question is simple, the cuts are being made across the board. Music and art at the elementary schools, ½ day at the elementary schools once per week, elimination of teachers at every school, the loss of support staff, administrators and other important resources are all at risk. I cannot tell anyone how to vote this Saturday (Hanson) or Saturday June 16th (Whitman), but it is my responsibility to let you know the impact of the potential budget cuts. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call or email me. Again, please know that I will do everything I can to preserve our outstanding athletic program. Sincerely, Bob Rodgers Athletic Director

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