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Posted on Fri, Jun 24, 2011 : 5:44 p.m.

Ann Arbor school district prepares to announce cuts to high school sports

By Kyle Feldscher

UPDATE 11:59 a.m. June 25: Ann Arbor schools slashing freshman sports teams, cutting funding to several other programs

Ann Arbor Public Schools is preparing an announcement on how it will cut $475,000 from high school sports, according to district officials.

District spokewoman Liz Margolis said the district will not release details on what the changes will be until Ann Arbor school board trustees are informed. When reached by on Friday afternoon, Trustee Christine Stead said she hadn’t been informed of any details regarding high school sports.

“I do remember seeing some reductions to athletics in the proposed budget; what we don’t know is specifically what that means,” Stead said. “The board has not been briefed about the specific level of detail.”

High school athletics will receive $475,000 less than in 2010-11, according to the budget passed by trustees on June 8.

Margolis said interim Superintendent Robert Allen asked the athletic directors at the three high schools to work cooperatively to identify $475,000 in cuts.

“They worked all three together and it was consistent across the board,” Margolis said. “The three schools worked together to ensure consistency.”

She said a public announcements on the cuts could come as soon as Saturday.

An email shared with shows one parent asking school board President Deb Mexicotte if men’s and women’s lacrosse may be moved from a varsity sport to a club sport. In addition, district officials have been asked whether ninth-grade teams will be cut from the athletic offerings.

Mexicotte said Friday she had been on vacation all week and had no knowledge of any details of what could be changed in the high school athletics budget.

Rex Stanczak, varsity basketball coach at Pioneer High School, said he's been trying to think of different ways to adjust his program since he first started hearing rumors about cuts last week. He said not having a freshman team would mean many players losing out on learning how to be a part of the Pioneer system.

“That freshman year of development for kids in terms of understanding that it’s such a jump from middle school, understanding the commitment and all that stuff,” Stanczak said. “A few of them will make the JV, but we don’t know what we’re going to do.”

Stanczak said the freshman basketball team typically carries about 16 players and 30-40 kids will try out.

Beth Anderson, a parent of a Pioneer women’s lacrosse player, said she spoke to athletic director Lorin Cartwright earlier this week. Anderson said Cartwright was not able to confirm any of the details about what might be changing in Pioneer’s athletic department.

Anderson said if lacrosse does end up being cut from the department budget and becomes a club team, the team would survive.

“As long as it doesn’t affect how they’re playing and we can do everything we’ve done in the past as a part of the district and continue as a club, we’ll make it work,” Anderson said. “What worries me is what get cuts next year because this isn’t going to solve the problem.”

Shannon Fisher, who has a son entering Skyline High School in the fall, said she spoke to district officials Thursday and questioned why there wasn’t a public forum held to help make any decision on what the changes would be in the athletic departments. She said she was told that the high schools’ athletic directors were the best to make the decision.

“I asked if there was a reason why they didn’t have a public forum or public input or brainstorming on the programs and they told me they thought the athletic directors knew best,” she said.

Prep sports editor Pete Cunningham assisted in reporting for this story

Kyle Feldscher covers K-12 education for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 4:46 p.m.

as i see it now our childeren are starting to loose out so that homeless junkies have a place to leave rent free and so that crack heads can get a monthly check. perhaps we should curtail some welfare programs and really bring the focus back to our youth and there shots at a future. the earlier mentioned have already had theirs and blew it please dont allow them to drag the rest of society down


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 9:24 p.m.

Is that the only trade-off you see, angela?

Dog Guy

Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 4:41 p.m.

Dating will soon be the only competitive high school sport.


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 4:26 p.m.

I think the change in funding for schools some years back that eliminated property taxes should be reversed. A community should at least have a chance to raise funds by a local ballot proposal and leave it up to local voters.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 4:38 p.m.

Absolutely correct, Mick! Good Night and Good Luck


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 4:18 p.m.

Terrible idea. Reduce the above-market salaries (and, especially, benefits) and cut the non-classroom bloat -- but keep the programs. I'm pretty sure that if these cuts stand, Ann Arbor will lose enough lacrosse players and kids who want to play freshman sports to surrounding districts that the lost per-student revenue (at roughly $10K per) will outweigh the savings. It only takes a loss of about 50 kids to wipe out expected savings. This will hurt the quality of the district and end up COSTING rather than saving money. Idiots.


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 5:34 p.m.

I agree. This "little" thing is enough to push us to make the move out of A2 that we've already been considering.


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 4:15 p.m.

There seems to be an (unsupported) assumption that organized exercise and club level sports would cost free. Some data please.

Basic Bob

Sun, Jun 26, 2011 : 2:24 a.m.

Parents, don't let your children grow up to be ATHLETES.


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 4:10 p.m.

Some of the athletic directors' decisions make sense. Others risk safety and raise concerns about Title IX violations. Even worse is the total lack of public process in the decision-making. It's not insignificant that the letter to parents gets sent out on a Saturday morning after the schools have closed for the year. You can read more about my concerns on my blog, Ann Arbor Schools Musings, on this post: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 4:41 p.m.

Most of the administrators have gone home for the summer--not in Balas but in the schools. Even the principals--they'll be back in early August. And no, I'm not saying that the parents need to ratify the budget. But the athletic directors should be asking for parental, and student, and general taxpayer input--there should be a way for the public to engage in the process.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 4:19 p.m.

The administrators in the Balas Buildings and at the high schools have gone home for the summer? I did not know that! And one of the problems that every school district has (it is particularly acute here in Ann Arbor) is that people seem to think that every decision needs to be ratified by parents before the decision is made. Sorry, but no. That's why the school board is elected. Don't like the decisions? Elect a new school board. But so long as there is this belief, it will be well nigh impossible to undertake any serious and substantial school reforms that might, for instance, address the achievement gap. Compared to the changes that ought be undertaken to address the AG, this is peanuts. Good Night and Good Luck

Greg Gunner

Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 3:51 p.m.

The reality is you can't have something unless you are willing to pay for it. the Republican agneda is trying to have it all without paying for it. The dictatorial policies that mandate (rather than negotiate) leave no question as to the real agenda of the Republican party. They are out to destroy unions so that they can pay their workers a minimum wage without any benefits. Unfortunately, the consequence of their unilateral attack on public institutions (not just public employees) results in the loss of many opportunites for our children. These cut-backs on sports are just the beginning. If it doesn't benefit the bottom line of Slick Rick and his wealthy cronies, then it is not part of the Republican agenda. In summary, the Republican agenda is &quot;let the poor, the working class, the middle class, and our children be d*****&quot;, afterall Ithey need more money.


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 3:27 p.m.

Just suppose that studies demonstrate that participation in interscholastic sports (something more than club level sports or "morning exercise") enhances classroom achievement. I'm not sure it's true, but when our sons were in high school, it was so represented. If true, your thoughts, readers? Also, would it be too much to ask of Ann that it fulfill a journalistic function and provide an article addressing this issue?

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 3:15 p.m.

I am constantly amazed at the very same people who profess love what the new governor has done in this state claim either ignorance or, even better, blame someone else when confronted with the on-the-ground consequences of his actions. This is what you elected in 2010. Get ready for 3.5 more years of it. Good Night and Good Luck

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 5:43 p.m.

Mick: I voted for your comment below about local taxes--I think it spot on. I think one hard pressed to make a blanket statement that administrators are overpaid. When one looks at their responsibilities (e.g., # of employees, size of budget, value of capitol infrastructure) and makes a comparison to private sector pay with similar responsibilities, my experience is that they are substantially underpaid. Yes, the cost of the consultant for the achievement gap seems over the top. But the word &quot;supposed&quot; gives away your underlying assumption. There is an an achievement gap--one that stretches over socio-economic classes (i.e., the gap exists no matter whether rich, poor, or middle class). And, as a post I made below states, to seriously address its causes will requires massive changes to the way we approach education. That there is such an uproar over what is, in the end, reasonable cuts to the schools&quot; ATHLETIC budget means it highly unlikely there can ever be serious reform of the ways the schools perform the only mission that counts--the EDUCATION of our children. Good Night and Good Luck


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 4:38 p.m.

I made a quick post below and forgot to add one point, so I decided I will fit in in here along with my admission that I have no problem what the Gov is doing, but I would not say I am in &quot;love with it&quot; and I think it is a phrase that does not instill confidence in your post. It has yet to be seen if it will work, but I think it is worth a try. My position is that what we were doing lead us into this mess, so we should not continue that or other insane spending. As an example relating to this article, I would use the outrageous pay the school has decided on for the new superintendent and some other recently reported runaway spending. I cannot feel too sorry for AAPS's budget problems when they: - overpay administrators - pay tens of thousands to a head hunter to find this gem of a school administrator - pay $400+k to the San Francisco consultant who is trying to fix the supposed unbalanced learning status of minority children.


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 4:05 p.m.

Unless .... unless ... I understand there is a recall effort going on out there.


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 2:57 p.m.

Will there also be proportional cuts to the the AAPS music and theater programs? All of these programs enhance the education of our children and they are our future. But why should sports be hit when other activities are not? They all contribute to a well rounded student! With the high rate of preventable diseases in the US today caused by obesity, our economy will never recover until we can get a handle on our overweight and out of shape children. Perhaps, the US in entirety needs to move toward the sports model that Europe uses where sports are community based and not linked to a school.


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 2:47 p.m.

Looks like Football is still King in this town! Long live the oblong pigskin! And goodbye to all those other effete, silly games.


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 2:44 p.m.

&quot;a large proportion of successful business execs have been athletes in high school and college&quot; So this explains why most &quot;executives&quot; only worry about stock scores for next couple of quarters rather than the whole business team for next several years? For me this not a convincing argument for high school sports. How about using some of the resources used for sports to expand real education? - You know - like computers, art, history, science, and math.


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 4:08 p.m.

I agree that more money is needed in the areas you identify and that our whole society is overly obsessed about competitive sports. I am not sure, however, that competitive athletics do not provide very valuable lessons and that for some students, they are the best way to deliver them.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 2:33 p.m.

You have missed the point. The Governor and his RepubliKan colleagues have created an artificial fiscal crisis (on top of a real one) by giving their business buddies a $1.8 billion tax break. To cover that shortfall, he has drastically cut per pupil funding across the state. On top of this, he has not fully distributed the school aid fund (there is no requirement that he do so, but it has always been the practice). Finally, it is clear that the school aid fund will have more receipts in 2011-12 than projected, but he has refused to rejigger his budget to account for that reality. Schools, therefore, have significant budget shortfalls and must cut. Athletics, no matter how one slices the pie, is not a core function of K-12, and it is the first place to be cut. And as for your comment about the commentators not having participated in sports--it's laughable. Oh. And what is a &quot;unic&quot;? I've Googled it and cannot find a definition. Good Night and Good Luck


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 3:54 p.m.

Ed When I see a comment or spelling like that made by someone whom I respect, I will do so.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 3:37 p.m.

When I see your professed concerns on discussions about the outrageous names applied to Democratic politicians and to their supporters, I will take this admonition seriously. Until then, complaints about a well-deserved &quot;K&quot; are only so much false outrage. Good Night and Good Luck


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 3:27 p.m.

Sorry... should have been childishness


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 3:09 p.m.

Ed &quot; RepubliKan &quot; ? Although I usually disagree with you I always thought you were above that type of childness


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 2:20 p.m.

why do people keep tying this to a republican take over. it seems that since libs think republicans are elite snobs and athletes are the elite few then we would be spending millions on high school sports if it were up to republicans. the idea that we dont need compitition is near insane. when did teaching drive and intesity and hard work become bad. im am sorry some kids are to slow or clumsy or weak to play a sport. learning your limits and abilities is a great reason for sport. statistics say a girl who played in high school sports is 80 % less likely to put up with an abusive partner, but lets not concern ourselves with those few girls because it doesnt benifit everyone. we cant make sports a club because what about the kids who get excluded from these clubs. we are on our way to being a country of unics. plus it seems like a majority of the people comenting either were cut or to ashamed to even try out for a sport because it is impossible for someone who did play to not see the value

Tony Livingston

Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 2:05 p.m.

The details are out. Margolis sent an information email to students/parents this morning. Here is the list of what will no longer be funded by AAPS. All Freshmen Sports with the exception of Freshman Football. Safety issues were a major concern with the freshman competing in football at the junior varsity or varsity level, thus we will continue to run a 9th grade football program. Fall Crew is eliminated. (All high schools). (Crew was the only sport to have two seasons funded). Dance (Skyline) Cheer (Huron) Figure Skating (Pioneer and Huron) Field Hockey (Second J.V. team at Pioneer/Huron will no longer be funded). Men's and Women's Bowling (All high schools). Men's and Women's Lacrosse (All high schools). One assistant track coach (Huron and Pioneer as Skyline was not yet fully staffed). Transportation to schools in Washtenaw County with the exception of Football and Track. (Equipment concerns).


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 1:35 p.m.

I agree with Brian B. As a former high school teacher, I guarantee you some of my students only stayed in school because of extracurricular activities (sports/athletics, the arts, etc.) and many had to step up their academic game because of them. Not only do they give many students a reason to come to school, but they also build self-esteem and help foster cooperation. What happened to developing the whole person - mind, body and emotional well-being? And as a country as today's youth are more likely to face obesity and related illnesses than any previous generation, you want to cut sports and other extra-curricular activities that might require movement? What will those costs be to the taxpayers?

Lac Court Orilles

Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 1:27 p.m.

Why must sports participation be a part of the educational experience? Shouldn't sports be organized outside of the school's authoritative control and be organized by clubs instead? This way the Republican politicians will have less control over our lives if we conduct sports separately and away from our educational institutions?

Brian Bundesen

Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 12:36 p.m.

A sad and inevitable turn of events, as the sports programs are always the easy low hanging fruit when its time to cut budgets. Speaking as a parent of 2 kids who just went through the AAPS, I can say that their participation in the sports programs were a critical and highly valuable component of their education. Far from being 'elite', if it were not for the Freshman and JV programs, my kids would not have been able to participate. It helped teach them all those qualities of character that we hope for in future generations: Leadership, teamwork, self confidence, discipline, as well as winning with humility, and learning from defeat. Not to mention the great, life-long friendships that were forged. Bottom line, IMO, the extra curricular programs (not exclusively sports), are every bit as important as the classroom. Elimination of these are very, very sad. If I were the parent of a middle schooler today, and these programs were eliminated, I would do everything I could to have them go to a private school with a vibrant extra curricular program.


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 11 a.m.

&quot;Robert Allen asked the athletic directors at the three high schools to work cooperatively...&quot;. How about starting with cutting two athletic directors, and having one to oversee the district?


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 4:09 p.m.

Question: Are the athletic directors also full-time teachers? If so, are you asking too much?

average joe

Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 10:55 a.m.

AAPS doesn't need an AD for each building. I assume each has an assistant &amp; other support staff(?) This would save a lot of the budget cut. Another example of overlapping administrative costs.


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 9:30 p.m.

Are you sure, average joe? I haven't the foggiest notion what ADs do on a school level. Without this knowledge, however, I would not begin to determine whether &quot;AAPS .. needs ... and AD for each building.&quot; Can you enlighten me?


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 10:01 a.m.

Cutting out sports! Where are our future u of m hockey and football players? So now all these students have left too do is sit on internet, video game boxes, dvd players, and watch cable. And now we go back to obesity! These students are our future when it comes too care later in life. Think about!!!!!!!!!


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 3:27 a.m.

So I remember when Skyline H.S. was being voted on and debated. We were told it wouldn't hurt the budget. We were also told the overcrowding in Pioneer/Huron was temporary and would improve even without a new high school. I remember being told the new HS would guarantee teacher jobs. I wondered then and voted against the new high school and now I wonder again.... If accurate and we are are cutting 9th grade sports as well as some teaching positions this year, I have to wonder about the honesty and foresight of the AAPS about the need for a new high school, let alone this plan for financial stability. This kind of planning seems to be the same kind applied to the cutting we are seeing today. No real plan, somewhat reactionary actions. It is enough for me to consider other schools if my children are not allowed to play 9th grade sports.

John B.

Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 2:50 p.m.

So let me get this straight: several years ago, when the Skyline decision was made, the School District should have known that Snyder would get elected in the future, and would take significant funding away from the schools in order to give it to Corporations? Please explain that logic to me. Additionally, no one (that was credible, anyways) said it wouldn't affect the budget to build Skyline. It costs about $5 Million per year to run a High School in the Ann Arbor area. If you add one, you need to find another $5 Million per year to run it. No one (that was credible, anyways) said that the severe overcrowding at Pioneer and Huron was going to evaporate by itself. Pioneer had about 3000 students, and Huron had about 2400 or so, at the time. Multiple studies have shown over and over that the ideal size for a High Scool is about 1500 students. I have two Pioneer grads. One was in a class of 650, the other 700. Way too large. The sad thing is that we needed the new HS for about a decade or more before it was finally built.

say it plain

Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 4:48 a.m.

I surely understand your critique of the creation of Skyline if the AAPS then goes and cuts out 9th grade sports! The big argument for building a new big comprehensive school, I'm sure, included the notion that we'd better serve kids in that AA-style comprehensive-school style--which definitely includes 9th grade sports lol! If they were just going to cut those anyhow, then why not create more programs like CHS, which *definitely* has a long waiting list and would draw families out of private schools and into AAPS, right?! I do think that Pioneer and Huron would still be quite crowded were it not for skyline's existence, but I agree that it does seem rather 'planless' to build those great facilities at skyline and then cut out 9th grade sports potentially... of course, asking the 3 athletic directors what should be cut might not get the answer &quot;live with ONE AD for the whole highschool sports scene&quot;, which would in itself cover half of the money they're talking here, d'oh! No kidding--lose the 9th grade program gets considered 'better' than losing a couple of ADs, when you ask the ADs to decide what to do! There's got to be middle ground between leaving it to a parental vote and not even involving the school board in the decisions, doesn't there?! Vote in some new school board leadership please people!

Basic Bob

Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 4:19 a.m.

&quot;Honesty and foresight&quot; is what caused the firing of Dr. Rossi Ray-Taylor, our last real leader in Ann Arbor. Some sensible plans are never considered for obvious reasons, like closing CHS. The last time that was suggested, the supporters voted in a new school board. This is exactly what is wrong with the so-called &quot;Democratic&quot; process. It looks good on paper, but it does not result in intelligent operation of the schools.


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 3:25 a.m.

It is true that sports as the great equalizer is a long gone notion. Ann Arbor high school sports are very skewed toward the elite travel/private club set. It is sad. While sports and exercise are wonderful for everyone, the current system does not serve everyone. I think it could be done better. My advice would be to spread the wealth and be a lot more inclusive. I hate to see the freshman teams go as those are the only teams a lot of students are able to make.


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 12:20 p.m.

"I think it could be done better. My advice would be to spread the wealth and be a lot more inclusive. I hate to see the freshman teams go as those are the only teams a lot of students are able to make. " And while we are at it lets "be a lot more inclusive" on the debate team. Instead of limiting it to those that are bright and thoughtful, lets give anyone that has something to say have a spot on the team. And why have a Valedictorian? What is the point in recognizing someone that has put in the time and effort to be the best? We preach to kids be hard workers and study so you can "succeed " in life and be successful. But then when it comes to sports,some say don't reward the "elite" (those that put in the time and effort to be the best) with spots on the team, but let everyone be on the team!

say it plain

Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 3:06 a.m.

@Tru2Blu76, The correlations between being a 'business executive' and participating in school sports isn't a compelling one to me. It seems like arguing for us all to spend precious school-budget resources for a few kids to learn how to better compete in their various worlds. But the connections you mention between exercise and 'brain power'--improvements *for all kids* from getting exercise--*do* make a compelling case for keeping physical education in our schools. Indeed, I'd like to see exercise programs expanded, but to make those benefit *all* our students, not just the ones who play serious competitive sports! I'm pleased as punch to hear that finally we will see some cuts to that whole varsity sports scene, because it surely *is not* beneficial to everyone, nor does it standardly develop kids' &quot;ethics&quot; or somehow serve as positive character modeling. Indeed, it can be a hotbed of nastiness, in-group/out-group dynamics, and posturing. To the degree that this might serve someone well as a 'business executive' lol, it might be 'useful' to some, and I'm sure it is indeed sometimes a positive experience, but limited money is better spent on so many other things. For *all* students. And as @Homeland Conspiracy says, maybe to teach more communication and less competition.


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 7:11 a.m.

Thank you @say it plain. My insomnia-ridden brain could only come up with &quot;About damn time....&quot;


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 3:33 a.m.

Yes, True2Blue, you have left out the negative side of competitive sports. It is a great experience for those who make the team and actually get to play. But for a lot of others, it can be a very negative experience. With a junior and senior at Pioneer, I must say that I am not impressed.


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 2:18 a.m.

Thanks Synder!!! Fear not, though, all those businesses getting amost $2 billion in tax cuts will surely start a private sports league to set in! After all, it is a proven fact that trickle-down economics (Reganeconomics/Busheconomics) is a sure bet! 1 percent of the time, it works 50 percent of the time.

David Paris

Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 4:30 p.m.

I think you're on the right track. It may all be an effort to channel us away from public schools and into for-profit schools. Just cut, cut, cut, until the for profits look more appealing. Why would a society want to be responsible for it's future, anyway, what good is that?!?


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 1:59 a.m.

Thanks Rick!


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 4:13 p.m.

More bean counting!


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 2:59 a.m.

$3.2 million for vasity sports from the general fund. Another $3 million for a weight room at one High School, which means $ 6 million more for the other 2. $800,000 for football stands at one high school. This is not a Rick problem, this is an athletic budget out of control. AAPS is NOT the UofM and does not have the revenue to support a UofM style sports program.

Russ Miller

Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 1:17 a.m.

I hope the district looks at the AD offices for savings in addition to cutting support for the teams. I know that they provide essential services, but their proportion of the athletics budget seems large, around 35% of the total in recent budgets, with the other ~65% going mainly to coaching, equipment and travel.


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 12:57 a.m.

Couldn't this article wait until the details are released? Otherwise, it's just a lot of speculation.

average joe

Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 10:46 a.m.

Basic Bob- At least they didn't hire an outside consulting firm to do the research.....

Basic Bob

Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 4:12 a.m.

This is their idea of marketing research. Like announcing year-round school for minority students, or cancellation of all high school buses.


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 12:31 a.m.

The negative assumptions about the value of 7th-12th grade school sports really annoys me. Many years ago, the U of M Institute for Social Research (a world class research institute) was studying what it takes to be a success on the business executive level. One thing they learned: a large proportion of successful business execs have been athletes in high school and college. It's not necessary to be a star athlete, only to have the commitment, the goal orientation and the team orientation gained from participating in high school sports. These are base-level human developmental needs: NOT something that can be tossed out the window. Sports for males and females does more than 'build character' (although that's one of the gains for most), modern school sports participation replaces the traditional rites of passage that have faded from modern life and left an ethics, leadership and character gap which is SO apparent to us all. More recently: it's been proven that schools which instituted morning exercises for all students had much better academic results. The body, it turns out, exercises the brain. This whole Republican scheme to cut public services is predictably shoving us in the wrong direction. All businesses across the country should be paying taxes at the rate at which they historically bore - with success for them and for the country.


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 1:59 p.m.

&quot;a large proportion of successful business execs have been athletes in high school and college&quot; This might not be the best argument FOR sports. What it seems to have taught these executives is the win at all cost mentality. Winning is the only thing that matters. If you need to bend the rules to win it is ok as long as you don't get caught. I think we should spend money on sports, but the issue I see too often is the win at all costs mentality. I can see lots of available budget cuts . The football team traveled to Holt, Monroe and Bedford last season. There are many schools closer. This is an area where all the schools need to work together to stop these mega conferences and make a league that is proximity based. I also find the need for three distinct athletic directors a bit much. The district should hire ONE director of athletics for the entire district. Coaches should be required to fill in some of the voids that would create. Rex Stanczak has had no basketball duties the last several months, and won't again when school starts. Each coach can manage the budget of their team and report to the AAPS Director of Athletics.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 12:31 p.m.

&quot;This is Ann Arbor, so it is hardly a Republican scheme. This is an unfortunate reaction by elected Democrats necessitated by the cozy relation between Democrat unions, Democrat administrators, and their Democrat boards. After a decade of trade deficits to other industrial nations buying Toyotas and Chinese electronics, we can't afford sports and automatic step increases.&quot; Any actual . . . FACTS . . . to support this hair-brained assertion? Didn't think so. Good Night and Good Luck

Basic Bob

Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 4:10 a.m.

This is Ann Arbor, so it is hardly a Republican scheme. This is an unfortunate reaction by elected Democrats necessitated by the cozy relation between Democrat unions, Democrat administrators, and their Democrat boards. After a decade of trade deficits to other industrial nations buying Toyotas and Chinese electronics, we can't afford sports and automatic step increases.


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 2:56 a.m.

Morning Exercise is great. Every school should have it and every student should participate. Varsity sports teams have been the subject of many studies, some indicate that sports teams create great leaders, others indicate that sports teams create great bullies. I would suggest both is true. I suspect exercise and club level sports offers as much for many more students than varsity sports.


Fri, Jun 24, 2011 : 11:55 p.m.

I would be really interested in the school boards accounting method. The men's lacrosse program at pioneer had 70 players who each paid $150 to the school for the opportunity to play. That translated into $10,500 in revenue for the school. The team had 23 home games between Varsity and JV which cost $2500 in ref fees. The school provided buses to 5 away games. The boosters supplied the uniforms, the Freshman buses and refs. So all that is left is the Varsity head coach and assistant coaches pay. In my limited accounting knowledge that sounds like the team was close to a break even cost- a FAR cry from the cost savings of $475,000!!! If they make these cuts without a more comprehensive budget analysis they will be right back at the well again next year. I think they need to be a bit more thoughtful before they proceed.


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 3:22 a.m.

even if all the sports broke even, they still need to CUT $475,000. It's not about which sports break even. The district has to cut money.


Fri, Jun 24, 2011 : 11:26 p.m.

Good thing we just used all that cash to upgrade the Ann Arbor police station and jail. Now we can house all the bored kids after school. Or maybe they can all start hanging out at that sweet new rest area off of 23 South, that was a much better investment then school sports.


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 2:51 p.m.

Ummmmmm???? So you are telling me that NO city taxes get used to pay for schools? No property taxes and no local taxes get spent on public schools? Michigan State Budget office feels differently than you &quot;In fiscal year 2010, the top three sources of revenue used to fund K-12 education were sales and use taxes (37.8%), federal revenue (18.0%), and property taxes (14.5%)&quot;. And you do understand that it was not all city funding that made the new police station? Anyhow, tax dollars are tax dollars, if thats the case then the city/state should have spent that money on the schools instead of the police station. Either way my point was that we have it backwards, educated people=less criminals, uneducated people=more criminals.


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 1:44 p.m.

You do understand that the city does not fund the school district? That would be like saying MSU built this brand new building and it is changing how Eastern does something.

Linda Peck

Fri, Jun 24, 2011 : 11:20 p.m.

This is a fine idea, long overdue. There is way too much money and time spent on competitive sports in schools and colleges. As an ex-dancer, I know first-hand what over exercising can do to the body's joints and attachments. Why ruin a beautiful and healthy body by overdoing it? The damage lasts a very long time, the rest of one's life.

Rod Johnson

Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 3:34 p.m.

Show us the &quot;overwhelming evidence.&quot; To my knowledge, the evidence, such as it is, is mixed. Sports advocates cherry-pick the studies that agree with them, most of which are done by people who have in interest in a positive outcome. Not very much quality longitudinal research has been done, so we have lots of anecdotes about &quot;character building&quot; and &quot;executive training&quot; and everyone chooses to ignore the links between concussions and early-onset dementia, or the prevalence of knee problems and arthritis later in life. And as for &quot;educated coaches and players&quot;... it varies, like everything else.


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 12:01 a.m.

Why would you assume healthy high school sports is &quot;overdoing it?&quot; Educated coaches and players pride themselves on taking care of their body and in fact there is overwhelming evidence that participation in team sports is not only healthy for the body it improves grades, mental health and social well being. It is too bad you didn't follow moderation-but you shouldn't jump to assumptions based on your poor personal planning


Fri, Jun 24, 2011 : 11:17 p.m.

Trustee Christine Stead said she hadn't been informed of any details regarding high school sports."I do remember seeing some reductions to athletics in the proposed budget; what we don't know is specifically what that means," Stead said. Seems pretty disinterested! I would think it's their job to find out what it means!


Fri, Jun 24, 2011 : 11:05 p.m.

It can be difficult for a child to make the team and get playing time unless he/she has spent considerable time on a club/travel team. Parents spend thousands of dollars for this experience. Eliminating 9th grade teams, where players gain valuable experience, will go further to ensure that a high school athletic experience will be for the elite. However, cuts have to come from somewhere and I suppose this one makes sense on paper.


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 3:30 a.m.

I would agree with you kms. It has been a real eye opener to see first hand what goes on in high school sports. It would be great to find a way to involve a lot more students in high school sports and I think it could be done for a lot less money. Most of the current programs are very cut throat and extremely time consuming.


Fri, Jun 24, 2011 : 10:39 p.m.

The cat is already out of the bag. Lacrosse goes club but Crew stays, which is sad. I am not dissing Crew, I think there should be a way to keep all of them. Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports around and Pioneer has had a very successful and established program for years. Skyline is coming on strong in Lacrosse and Huron has always had a presence as well. It has also been said that all of 9th grade sports are gone.


Fri, Jun 24, 2011 : 11:05 p.m.

If I recall correctly there are 80+ non-union employees of the district earning $100,000+ annually. We saw how money was thrown out there while searching for a new superintendent as if money is the only thing a competent and caring candidate would consider. Now we risk losing the excellent teaching and character building opportunities team sports provides (and each sport is different, merely substituting one for another IS a loss). It's just further example of how screwed up society's priorities are nowadays.

Homeland Conspiracy

Fri, Jun 24, 2011 : 10:38 p.m.

Time to teach more communication &amp; less competition


Sat, Jun 25, 2011 : 4:03 p.m.

Doesn't the athletic arena provide an opportunity to teach both?