Fairfield school board votes to cut high school sports

May 24, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
When students in Fairfield start school in the fall, there's a good chance they won't have any sports or after school programs. The school board voted to cut them, but Thursday night students and parents are putting up a fight.

It was a packed house at the district headquarters and it was quite emotional. Parents and students say they can't even bear the thought of going to a school that offers no extra-curricular activities.

"I want to know what we can do, as a community to get a plan in action to save our sports," said a parent.

Parents came pleading, and so did students. Student athletes from Fairfield, Armijo and Rodriguez High say they won't know what to do if the school district carries out its plan to eliminate sports.

"Devastating. It will be just flat out devastating," said James Reid, a Rodriguez High School student.

Board members voted in February to cancel all sports and other afterschool activities as a way to offset a $6.5 million deficit, but parents, students and teachers are hoping the board will find a way to keep to their programs alive.

"If you cut athletics from this community from these kids, you are not just taking away sports. You're taking away mentors, counselors, father figures, motivation to get good grades, livelihoods, college opportunities, and clean criminal records," said Angela Shackleford, a parent.

The district, however, says there just isn't any wiggle room. District employees attended a state budget briefing earlier this week and the outlook is bleak.

"The picture is worse not better. So, there's no miracle money coming from the state of California that's going to save the district or any district in the state of California," said Kelly Morgan, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services.

The one viable hope is for the district's employee unions to make concessions. So far, two of the five have agreed to pay and benefit cuts. Another option is for parents to kick in some money. One mother went so far as to criticize the parent community for lagging in booster club donations.

"We failed our community. What are we going to do? If we want it back, we're going to have to figure this one ourselves. We had the opportunity, we blew it," said Sharon Dunlap, a parent.

The district will get a better idea on the fate of high school sports when it's done negotiating with the remaining unions. No word, on when that might be.


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