Ypsilanti eliminates funding for high school cheerleading, makes it a club sport
Angela J. Cesere | AnnArbor.com
The decision was made at a coach’s meeting on July 26. Most cheer parents and their children were notified of the cut over the weekend and an emergency meeting took place Monday night for the teams to begin brainstorming on how to fund the program this season.
Phyllis Prichard, who has helped with fundraising efforts for the program and has a freshman daughter on the JV team, said in the past, the district has paid for the coach’s salary, some equipment costs and the transportation to away games. But the cheerleaders organize several annual fundraisers to supplement costs and pay for uniforms.
The total cost of the sideline cheer program to Ypsilanti Public Schools is not known at this time.
The district is scrounging to make additional budget cuts after learning it only will be able to borrow about $12.7 million from the state of Michigan for the upcoming school year, instead of the about $14 million it needed.
Now the district is looking to slash another $3 million from the budget and exploring a number of options.
Prichard told the Ypsilanti Courier that after speaking with YHS Athletic Director Robert Belous, it was determined the program needs about $5,000 to cover the football and basketball seasons.
Prichard said YHS has sideline cheer teams, but not competitive cheer teams like several other districts in the state.
She said starting on Saturday, the cheerleaders will be launching a pop bottle drive.
“This is not only about school spirit, but it’s about leadership,” Prichard said. “These are skills that are valued and that they will take with them into their futures.”