Tuesday, August 05, 2008

For Many Student Athletes, Game Over

Published: July 28, 2008

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. — Student athletes in maroon and gold uniforms filled their water coolers with more than $19,000 in donations last weekend by standing on street corners here to ask friends, neighbors and strangers alike to help revive the school district’s $1.1 million athletic program, which was eliminated last month in budget cuts.

On Long Island, a group of parents started a charitable corporation, Wantagh S O S (Save Our Students), to collect money for nearly 100 sports teams and extracurricular clubs that were dropped from the school district’s budget last month. The group has raised more than $334,000, about half of its goal, through dinner parties, car washes, a lacrosse tournament and a walk-a-thon at Jones Beach.

And come fall, middle school students in Dearborn, Mich., will have to settle for fewer games after every team’s season was cut by a quarter, or about two weeks, to save $130,000 annually on busing and coaching. The district trimmed the schedules after students and parents opposed its plan to replace the sports teams with an intramural program, in which students would not have competed against other schools.

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