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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Budget battles start to hit prep sports

The economic crunch is beginning to hit North Idaho school districts.

At a Coeur d’Alene School District board meeting Monday, 257 patrons turned out to protest a proposal to eliminate athletic directors at Coeur d’Alene and Lake City high schools and hire one A.D. to be stationed at the district office.

Down the road, patrons will hear about a proposal to eliminate all district funding for activities. If Johnny or Mary want to play sports or debate, he or she will have to pay to play, and it could be a steep fee.

Seventeen people – including coaches and former and current administrators at both schools along with parents and other patrons – voiced their concern over proposed cuts. They also expressed that they represented hundreds of other people with similar concerns.

Be forewarned, prep sports fans. Discussions of budget cuts will start making the board meeting agendas in your town soon. Especially after Gov. Butch Otter announced Monday a plan to cut funding for education by 5.3 percent for next year.

If you support activities, you better show up at board meetings and let that support be seen.

I realize most school districts will have to make some cutbacks. Some will be painful – perhaps more painful in some towns/districts than others. In CdA, a shortfall in the $6 million range is anticipated.

The strongest caution I can send to school officials is to remember that activities are the other half of the education system. They shouldn’t be cut completely out of the district budgets, nor should the cost of offering activities fall squarely on the parents of the participants.

Games of the week?

The anticipated showdowns Tuesday between the Lake City and Post Falls boys and girls basketball teams weren’t so much.

The LC boys (7-2 overall, 2-0 Inland Empire League) used defense to suffocate previously undefeated Post Falls (8-1, 1-1) 58-42. The Post Falls girls (11-4, 5-1) also used defense to open a 40-24 lead before posting a comfortable 52-46 win over the T-Wolves (8-5, 2-4).

The loss has to be disturbing to LC’s girls, who gave No. 1-ranked Coeur d’Alene (14-0, 6-0) all it could handle before succumbing 52-40 last Friday.

The IEL girls title should be decided Jan. 23 when CdA visits PF.

•LC’s boys will try to make it a sweep over 5A teams in the first round of league play Friday when they play host to No. 1-ranked Lewiston (9-1, 1-0) at 7:30. The ever-improving Lewiston girls (11-3, 3-2) will be out to stay within eyesight of PF and CdA when they clash with LC in the preliminary at 5:45.

•The Fight for the Fish doubleheader has been rescheduled for Jan. 30 at LC.

Those games were originally scheduled as league games. To replace those games, a doubleheader has been scheduled for Jan. 24, also at LC.

Make it a hat trick

Sandpoint boys soccer coach Randy Thoreson was named the 2008 NSCAA/Adidas Coach of the Year for Region III in Division II.

It’s the third time he’s received the honor. Thoreson’s Bulldogs captured their sixth 4A state title this decade last fall.

“It’s a great honor, but we all know it’s a team award and testimony to a great group of very committed athletes,” Thoreson said.

Wrestling tourney

The annual Badger Building Center River City Duals are Friday and Saturday at Post Falls High School.

The 22-team field is loaded with high-caliber teams. Columbia of Nampa, which finished runner-up at the 4A state meet last year and is heavily favored this season, defeated Lewiston 38-24 in the title match last year.

Columbia, Lewiston and Riverside should be in the mix this weekend. Three rounds will be held Friday, beginning at 3 p.m. Five more rounds will be held Saturday with placing matches for 11th through 22nd at 3:30 and matches for first through 10th at 5.

•Check out to see the latest state rankings.