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District cuts all sports but still spends $850,000 to expand gym

Jonathan Wall
Prep Rally

Budgetary issues are nothing new for school districts around the country. For the last couple of years, institutions of higher education having been trying to find new ways to cut costs and stay under budget, due in large part to a stagnant economy.

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Until recently, however, sports always seemed to be the sacred cow. Now matter how difficult things got, most schools never considered cutting sports programs. But things have changed recently, as school districts started to think long and hard about the impact cutting a sports program -- or two -- would have on the future of the school, as a whole.

However, some districts have gone even further than to cut a couple of sports. As the Jersey Journal said in a recent article, Hudson County school district completely eliminated interscholastic high school sports programs this year due to budgetary issues.

It was the kind of slash-and-burn decision that had parents in an uproar, especially after word came out that instead of spending the money to keep the sports programs alive, district officials went out and spent $850,000 to expand the gymnasium.

The $850,000, which Hudson County Schools of Technology Superintendent Frank Gargiulo said came from the district's capital budget, could have paid for two full years of sports at both High Tech in North Bergen and County Prep in Jersey City, with $150,000 left over.

District officials told the Jersey Journal that students at schools within the district can still participate in intramural soccer, basketball, volleyball, bowling, badminton and judo, but the fact remains, the district decided to spend more than three-quarters of a million dollars on a gym instead of saving the sports programs. It's a move that, in all honesty, makes absolutely zero sense.

The money being used for sports programs within the district came from the "capital buget," which would have enabled the district to spend the necessary funds to maintain the programs for another two years.

Instead, county freeholders decided to move the funds from the capital budget to fund adult education programs. As the Jersey Journal said, the freeholders are now, reportedly, starting the seven-month process of moving the capital budget funds to the operating budget, thereby ensuring interscholastic high school sports never return to Hudson County.

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