March 17, 2010

RI Interscholastic League Denies Cranston Sport Consolidation

Marc Comtois

Those who read my previous post regarding Cranston's attempt to help relieve their budgetary woes by combining various school sports programs from their two high schools via a waiver application to the Rhode Island Interscholastic League won't be surprised to read that I think the RI Interscholastic League got it right:

The Rhode Island Interscholastic League Principals Committee on Athletics has denied the Cranston School Department's request for an eligibility waiver that would have allowed the consolidation of teams at the city's two high schools.

The committee voted 10-0 Wednesday to deny the request to allowed the city to field co-operative teams in 16 sports. There was one abstention.

As a result, plans to eliminate freshman football, basketball and baseball; girls and boys indoor track and tennis and co-ed golf at Cranston High School East and Cranston High School West will proceed. The School Committee has already voted to eliminate those sports for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Tom Mezzanotte, executive director of the Interscholastic League, said the co-op rule is intended to increase opportunities to participate. In Cranston's case it would limit opportunities, he said.

The committee does not want students "to bear the burden of financial problems" in the community, he added.

Mezzanotte's reasoning is completely correct and Cranston shouldn't have been--and wasn't able--to use the RIIL as an escape hatch for that city's budgetary problems. I expect that some parents and students will step up to try to save their teams. Whether they raise money on their own or take it to the school committee or city council is up to them.

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Too bad the Cranston School Committee is gutless, and take the financial problems out on the kids. How about leaving more money in the education budget for the students and less on the adult entitlements. Just a thought.

Posted by: Kathy at March 17, 2010 10:17 PM

While I agree whole heartedly that the kids shouldn't have to suffer, especially if there is some fat in the budget that can be trimmed, I don't understand the logic that combining teams would reduce opportunities to play. If these sports all end up successfully eliminated or even partially, the kids won't have the chance to participate where if they're combined at least some will. Unless I'm missing something.

Posted by: Steve A. at March 18, 2010 9:11 AM

Steve, I agree that the bit about reducing by saving is confusing. But the committee has to make their decision based on the pretty explicit reason for having the waiver process in the first place, which is to allow schools/towns to join up to create NEW opportunities, not to reduce existing ones. Up until now, the assumption was that such combinations meant an increase in participation. The RIIL didn't craft the policy--nor do they intend to change it--to accommodate consolidations for the sake of saving money. Cranston SC attempted to skirt a tough decision by using a vehicle (the waiver process) that was not meant to address that situation.

Posted by: Marc at March 18, 2010 11:51 AM

The Cranston Schools are run by a bunch of gutless jackasses - from the superintendent to the school committee.

To think that $130,000 is nowhere to be found in a $126,000,000 budget is a joke.
They talk about keeping kids involved and out of trouble, and then they pull this crap. Saying one thing - doing another! The fact is, 432 kids are now left with nothing to do after school thanks to these cuts.

Mike Traficante, the school committee chair is a union whore! Can anybody tell me just what he is doing on that committee - other than protecting the union pigs?
He gave the city away to the unions as mayor, and now he is doing the same with the schools. What a disgusting fat pig!

Posted by: Rob M at March 18, 2010 12:42 PM

Rob M has summarized the issue quite well.

Posted by: BobN at March 18, 2010 6:48 PM

The teachers in Cranston have been some of the more cooperative, making significant concessions when the city's financial condition was dire. It would be great, however, if they made some offer. Teachers could use the positive publicity.

But I agree that the leadership is taking an easy way out. There must be better ways to reduce the budget than cutting sports. I suspect finding $100,000 to cut from the district's administrative budget might be a good start.

Posted by: mikeinri at March 18, 2010 9:07 PM
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