North Kingstown Cuts Freshman Sports, Ice Hockey and Gymnastics Next?
Friday, July 13, 2012
The school department needs to cut $2 million before the start of the next school year, according to high school principal Thomas Kenworthy.
North Kingstown had offered freshman football and boys' and girls' basketball. About 60 students participated in the three programs combined last year.
"We looked at every area in the department, not just athletics," said Kenworthy. "The big thing we stressed is that freshmen still have an opportunity to play at the JV level."
Also under fire are the high school ice hockey and gymnastics programs, which are very popular among students. Kenworthy said that despite their popularity, those two sports always end up being the most expensive, due to facilitiy rental fees. The ice hockey team plays at Boss Arena in Kingston, which also hosts the University of Rhode Island club team, and gymnastics competes in a nearby facility in East Greenwich.
Complicating matters for the ice hockey program is the fact that the Rhode Island Interscholastic League receives all of the gate revenue from ice hockey.
The school will not continue to fund those programs, but Kenworthy said that parents have stepped up to set up a private funding structure that he believes will allow them to continue. "My guess is that they will continue to run next year," he said.
Kenworthy also said that freshman sports could continue if parents did the same, but there has not been enough support as of yet.
Two weeks ago, the school department laid off 26 janitors while moving to privatize the school district's custodial department. That decision was met with stern opposition from town unions. As of yesterday, an online petition protesting the move had already gotten 738 signatures.
A special meeting to discuss the layoffs and changes to the union contract is scheduled for Tuesday.
For more, read Dan McGowan's piece.
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