No decision yet on NU’s sports budget cuts
About a dozen Nevada Union High School coaches met with Principal Margaret Christensen Friday to map out ways to possibly trim the school’s athletic budget.
Christensen and the coaches used the brainstorming session to discuss cutting as much as $50,000 or raising a similar amount to stem a proposed $1.5 million budget shortfall for the next school year.
Administrators have proposed two different plans to bridge the gap: adding a $100 fee, to be deposited in accounts for each of the school’s 22 sports, or cutting the budgets of a variety of nonrevenue sports, including varsity swimming, winter snow sports, water polo and some freshman sports.
Though no decisions were made, there was an air of concern at the meeting, NU ski coach Ken Ramirez said. No one at the meeting wanted to see sports cut.
Christensen was unavailable for comment. Nevada Joint Union High School Superintendent Joe Boeckx said any decisions on future cuts to the athletic program and the high school district’s budget would be made after he has had a chance to review the proposed cuts with administrators in a few weeks.
Ramirez, in his 12th season as ski coach, faces cuts in his program that could total $14,000. The program includes snowboarding, as well.
The district gives Ramirez $7,000 for salaries and transportation. He raises an additional $3,500. Transportation alone has doubled in the last three years, he said.
“There needs to be an equitable trim, but we also have to be realistic and look at how many kids are in particular sports (and their program costs),” Ramirez said.
NU head basketball coach Jeff Dellis estimates that 1,000 NU students participate in some form of competitive sports. He wants to see NU’s mix of sports maintained.
“The school has always prided itself on its breadth of athletic opportunity,” said Dellis, who plans to meet with other coaches and Christensen Monday morning.
Samson Smith, whose snowboarding program is due for a possible cut, said he has no budget to cut in the first place.
“We fund-raise for everything except my paycheck,” said Smith, who didn’t attend Friday’s meeting. Smith receives a $3,500 coaching stipend, and the program survives on an $80 donation to cover transportation costs. In addition, fees go into an account to pay for participation in various snowboard affiliations.
“There’s other ways to do this before they start cutting whole programs,” said Bruce Grininger, NU boys volleyball coach and a possible target for cuts.
Ramirez said sports gives students intangibles they can’t learn elsewhere.
“It teaches things we have a hard time teaching in the classroom like camaraderie, team-building, leadership, winning and losing, and how to deal with loss. Without loss, there’s no such thing as success.”
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