South Tahoe athletic programs may be cut |

South Tahoe athletic programs may be cut

Chad Sellmer, Tribune staff writer

Lake Tahoe Unified School District administrators are closely watching the developments in Washoe County, as district administrators there consider new athletic-participation fees or possibly the elimination of some sports under a budget-cutting plan.

Last week, Washoe County School District’s Ed Bonine, director of student services, is looking to cut in half the district’s $2.2 million activities budget. The cuts would apply to next school year.

This could seriously impact LTUSD schools, as Bonine’s proposals reportedly include dropping varsity swimming and skiing and eliminating all junior varsity and freshman sports, among other options. South Tahoe competes in several sports against many Washoe County schools as part of the 11-team Northern Nevada 4A league, including varsity swimming. In skiing, however, STHS participates against schools around the lake.

STHS swimming coach Dale Bogard said the Washoe proposal to cut swimming “would devastate our program.”

“I don’t know exactly what is happening and I haven’t thought about what we would do,” Bogard said.

South Tahoe High School Athletic Director Don Borges said it’s “kind of a chess game right now.”

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“We talked with Ed Bonine at an athletic directors’ meeting and he says he has four or five proposals,” Borges said. “I don’t know if (cutting swimming) will happen. We are watching Washoe since it is the big guy in town and we kind of follow their decisions.”

If Washoe did eliminate its swimming program, that would leave Truckee, Douglas, Fallon, Lowry and Carson as the only other schools with the sport.

“There is a budget crisis, no doubt about that and not everybody will be happy,” Borges said. “We will make some decisions based on what the other people do. I would anticipate something, but I can’t say because we haven’t crossed that bridge.”

Washoe County’s other proposals include charging students up to $200 per sport or $325 to compete during the entire school year and a reduction in game schedules with the elimination of middle school sports and those previously mentioned. Other plans hinge on the amount of the participation fee as to what sports may be retained, according to the Associated Press.

The school district is holding a series of “town hall meetings” this week to discuss the issue.