Schools cutting athletics budgets
By: Kristen Durst, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Some Wisconsin schools are having to trim their athletics departments in an effort to balance difficult budgets.
Athletics are a source of deep pride for schools, and Janesville School Board President Bill Sodemann says that making cuts to sports is a tough sell to the community. He says “people don’t respond much to cutting items like textbooks, but it’s a much different reaction when talking about cutting sports.”
Sodemann says the Janesville school board has had to back away from its original plans to completely eliminate freshman football and volleyball, but he says $80,000 in cuts are still going to have to come from somewhere within the athletics department.
Dave Anderson is the executive director of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association. He says schools have to trim their budgets about everywhere they can, and extracurricular activities are hard to spare.
Anderson says “there’s no state or federal law that requires, Sun Prairie to have baseball. There is state and federal law that requires there be public schools and provide a free and appropriate public education. And that's the dilemma. And it's a real one."
Anderson says some schools are reducing coaching staff, while others are eliminating different levels of sports like freshman or JV. And he says parents and their athletic booster clubs are being relied on even more to raise needed funds.