Group needs fast cash to save sports |

Group needs fast cash to save sports

William Ferchland

Parents and business members have 52 days to raise at least $54,800 or fall athletics at South Tahoe High School will be shaved or dropped.

A committee formed Tuesday is set to initiate fund-raising efforts to counter an expected $145,510 athletic program deficit in the Lake Tahoe Unified School District 2004-2005 budget.

Fifteen people invited by Associate Principal Jack Stafford played catch with ideas on how to raise money, including: appealing to people who supported a parcel tax last month, selling bottled water and inviting the Harlem Globetrotters to do a show.

The school already has an estimated $25,000 from Associated Students and booster club funds, Stafford said.

If levels are not met, then cuts of up to $76,000 would be considered, including elimination of programs. Cheerleading and ski teams – sports not sanctioned by the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association – would be dropped. Freshmen teams of football and basketball would be absorbed into the junior varsity levels and transportation would be consolidated.

The high school is committed to a full program. On Tuesday, Athletic Director Don Borges notified the NIAA that the school would have a full fall sports program.

At the heart of the discussion was fund raising versus the solicitation of money, and how to extract money from the same businesses who have contributed in the past.

“There’s a finite dollar in this town,” Laine said.

While approaching the casinos was one of the first ideas to raise money, Superintendent Diane Scheerhorn said the proposition was iffy.

First of all, the casinos are in a different state and require information on how a loss of athletics on any degree will affect them, Scheerhorn said.

One quick idea was raised by Peggy Stovall, booster club president. Stovall once sold bottled water that had a label of the name of the school’s mascot, Viking, that replaced the brand name. Permission was given by the distributor and Stovall said she made $15,000 for the cheerleading program in one year.

“It’s a no-brainer and a lot of money,” she said.

Other potential revenue sources include gate receipts and money from the school’s Pepsi contract.

Some believed raising money could also provide a life preserver to other programs like music and band.

“This could be the start. This could be the roots,” said Jeff Tillman, president of South Tahoe Refuse and an active participant in school affairs. “Hopefully this thing grows a little bit.”

The committee will likely include the middle school in its efforts. Members were looking at establishing a fund through the education foundation at U.S. Bank to collect donations.

The committee will meet June 2 at 2 p.m. at South Tahoe High School.

Mark Garratt, president of the school’s Quarterback Club, volunteered to chair the fund-raising committee. For more information, contact Garratt at (530) 542-3778 or

– E-mail William Ferchland at

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