OK, so I know there's still three more weeks of summer vacation for the kids of the HCPSS, and that the 2016 Primary Election is still more than nine months away, and that Board of Education candidates-- at least, beyond the incumbents-- aren't likely to emerge until after school starts in September. However, if Fairfax County is having this debate, are we so far removed from there that their issues aren't possibly our issues?
Indeed, I believe their issues are very relevant to us! And so, I submit for your consideration, this article that appeared earlier this week in the Washington Post. The thrust is that eliminating high school sports and curtailing afterschool activities are items that are on the table as the huge Fairfax County Public School System considers budget cuts.
To read the article, it seems like cutting high school sports is a place the Fairfax folks are unwilling to go. At least now. And at least, so they say. But, it is still on the table, nonetheless. And so, this begs the question: could it happen here?
In a school district like Howard, cutting high school sports may actually make some sense. Oh, and by the way, I think doing so would be a horrible idea. But it could happen.
There is a very rich array of youth sports programs in Howard County. There are multiple Howard County programs for pretty much every sport that you could think of-- certainly every sport that is competed in college and ultimately, professionally. And, with the exception of football and possibly men's and women's basketball, college recruiters don't scout the high school games anymore. They scope the club or AAU programs, where the athletes are competing against players of their own caliber and consistent skill level. Therefore, could high school sports be privatized in Howard County? There may be impact upon fields, but, well, the high school fields would be available again, wouldn't they?
And there would be a number of advantages for the HCPSS. First off, the budget savings as the programs would be renting the fields back through registration fees. To say nothing of the cost of not administering or operating the high school sports programs. And teachers would no longer be called upon to be sports coaches, which would in itself be a huge savings of time, if not also salary.
Now, again, I just said-- this would be a horrible idea. There needs to be much more availability of and access to athletic and other non-sports activity programs in high school and, for that matter, in middle schools too. Public school sports are the only opportunity many kids in the HoCo have to play a sport at all. And privatizing youth sports at the high school level-- I can't help but think that the registration costs would skyrocket, what with the additional need to hire more coaches, pay them, increase insurance coverage, rent facilities, etc. And that would prove a huge barrier of entry to thousands of families, even here in the HoCo.
Still-- this is a thing being talked about. And it would be a good topic in general-- privatization of extracurricular activities, or scaling them back-- to discuss with the 2016 Board of Education candidates. If any step forward.
Let's be careful out there.
#hcpss #hocoschools #hocopolitics #kittleman