Future of school sports muddled | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Future of school sports muddled

Jared Green

The Lake Tahoe Unified School District board meeting on Tuesday night threw the future of school athletics in South Lake Tahoe into even greater disarray than before.

The “Fair Share” proposal put forth by the South Tahoe High administration last month, which would have required student-athletes to pay a per-sport participation fee, was based on a cut of $100,000 from the school’s athletic budget. That would have left South Tahoe Middle with a $75,000 cut to make up the $175,000 total budget cut that is currently the school board’s direction to interim CFO Ed Costa.

The problem with that plan is that the entire STMS athletic budget for the current school year is approximately $46,000. Even if the entire program were eliminated, that would leave a $29,000 gap in the budget.

The administrations from both schools presented new proposals for their athletic programs to the school board on Tuesday. Mike Greenfield, principal of STMS, put forth a plan for intramural sports at his school that would cut the number of sports from seven to four and remove the school from inter-school competition.

The intramural program is based on a district contribution of $18,000, with $5,000 more coming from student participation fees. The school would also host two tournaments per sport to raise additional funds, with a “select” team from within the intramural program as the STMS entry.

Board member Sue Novasel requested Greenfield also put forth an option to retain traditional sports teams at STMS.

The high school situation is more complex. Principal Marcia Kaster and Athletic Director Don Borges presented five options to the board, including a complete elimination of the athletic program that Borges termed “inconceivable.” Three other proposals involved pay-to-play schemes, including the “Fair Share” schedule as well as a flat fee. The final proposal, and the one that drew the most interest and debate, was that the school board reduce the budget cut from 53 percent to 17 percent, which would bring the athletic cuts in line with the overall budget cuts.

The board is up against two deadlines: Borges must inform the Nevada Interscholastic Athletic Association whether the Vikings will compete in inter-school athletics in the 2004-05 school year by May 25 and an LTUSD budget report is due to El Dorado County by the end of May.

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