Illinois facing complete elimination of all sports because of state gridlock over pensions

Imagine a major high school without any athletic program. Pretty soon you won’t have to imagine, it will be the actual case at one school outside St. Louis.

The Cahokia track team, rear, may be no longer in 2014 — AP
The Cahokia track team, rear, may be no longer in 2014 — AP

As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cahokia (Ill.) High finds itself mired in the budget crunch to end all budget crunches. With the district already operating at a shortfall, a series of steep cuts in state funding that are projected for the coming two years are forcing the school to cancel all extracurricular activities, varsity sports included.

According to the Sun Times, the political move that forcing the cuts is tied to the Illinois state legislature’s unwillingness to adjust funding for the long-running pension program. Without cuts or other funding reform to the pension program, Cahokie and handful of other districts might find their state funding cut back so severely that they will struggle to pay their core operational expenses, let alone the funds needed to back sports, music and arts programs.

The threat of complete elimination is already earning sympathy from other teen athletes, who are quick to note that it would be a travesty for one of the state’s longstanding high school sports programs to be pushed to the wayside for purely political reasons.

“It’d be terrible,” Hillcrest (Ill.) track star Moshood Adeyemo told the Sun Times. “They need to keep it going because it’s one of the best things about school.

“They can’t take that away from them.”

Unless things change, they might have to take it away, even if that would be a true travesty.

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