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A different focus for budget cuts

PREPS

It seems the battle to save ninth-grade sports in the Spokane Public Schools has been won.

Now there may be one ahead to save gymnastics and golf.

According to multiple sources within the school district, administrators were surprised to discover how many high school ninth graders participate in sports (more than 80 percent at some schools). This news may have played a part in the decision to take ninth-grade sports off the budget-cutting menu.

But cuts in sports must be made because, well everyone is being hit. So an old standby was brought up again: eliminate gymnastics and golf, the sports of the supposedly well-to-do. As these sports aren't practiced on high school campuses – gymnastics moved to clubs a few years back to save money – then they really aren't part of the high school experience, are they? At least that's how the arguments go.

So for the second time in two years, they are on the chopping block. Last year they staved off elimination, partially due to Title IX concerns (gymnastics in high school is a girls-only sport). But slowpitch softball has blossomed so thoroughly, those concerns have been alleviated.

There will be budget cuts in athletics, that's certain. You can't cut as deeply into the overall budget as the district has to do and spare athletics completely. But remember, the levies we pass are intended to fund such things. If you don't feel you're getting your money's worth, or that the money is being funneled to other uses, let your elected representatives know.

•••••••••••

Speaking of representatives, the WIAA held its Rep Assembly on Monday. The Rep Assembly, made up of principals, athletic directors and the like, sets the high school organization's rules.

Monday the assembly enacted rules concerning booster clubs and coach's pay, forcing clubs to get school board approval before giving large monetary rewards to coaches. The changes are covered in stories in the News Tribune, the Times and the P-I.

• Mt. Spokane is still ranked second in state 3A baseball.

• Sideline Smitty looks at former state athletes who attended Virginia Tech, including former Pullman quarterback Will Furrer.




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