Middle school pondering intramural sports
A proposal to eliminate the athletics program at South Tahoe Middle School will be up for debate at a school staff meeting on Wednesday as the effects of the defeat of Measure L continue to raise questions.
Principal Mike Greenfield has suggested that the school transform the inter-school athletic program into intramural sports in an attempt to cover a $28,000 budget cut. He hopes the staff will have suggestions that will guide the direction of the school’s athletic department.
“(The proposal) is really the first swipe at the issue from us,” Greenfield said. “I wrote something up and put out to staff for them to give me back input.”
Greenfield said an intramural sports program would help cut costs by reducing the number of sports and expenses for travel and officials. A current $25 per sport participation fee would remain in effect, but Greenfield dismissed the possibility of a larger fee used to cover the budget cuts. South Tahoe High plans to use such a fee schedule to preserve its athletic programs.
“That would be so unfair. Some kids could pay and some couldn’t and our philosophy is to be all-inclusive,” he said.
Wrestling, track and field and cross country skiing would be cut from the program, leaving boys’ and girls’ basketball, coed volleyball and cross country running.
Dominique Westlake, who has coached cross country running at the middle school for 14 years, said a switch to intramural sports would change the entire culture of sports at South Tahoe Middle School.
“The idea of an intramural league versus team sports is so different,” Westlake said. “In intramurals, you don’t spend much time practicing and learning skills. You don’t get the quality of coaching. The kids would really be getting ripped off.”
Karin Holmes, an STMS physical education teacher and longtime coach, has submitted an extensive letter to Greenfield on how an intramural-based athletics program would impact the students.
“(Intramurals) would be a neat thing to have to keep kids busy and introduce them to sports,” Holmes said. “But in team sports you’re teaching kids skills, camaraderie, all sorts of things you don’t get other places. We basically wouldn’t have an athletics program, we’d just have a fun little thing to keep kids occupied.”
Greenfield is aware of the concern over his proposal and he emphasized that the decision if far from final.
“I’m hoping to get a lot of feedback on this thing, because it’s a complicated issue,” he said. “It could change dramatically because my proposal is just a first-blush look at the situation.”