Middle, high school sports in jeopardy


Hundreds of student athletes, parents and teachers packed a public hearing Monday to discuss where the budget can be trimmed.

"This is really serious," said Tammy Batten, athletic director.

She's in charge of athletics at Southern Lee High School.

"[I] think that we need to remember what it's all about for our student athlete population," Batten said.

The school takes pride in its sports teams.

"Not being able to play my senior year would be hard," junior Josh Mellette said.

Championship banners line the school gym, and for Mellette, basketball is his whole world.

"I would be highly upset cause that's like one major reason why I come to school," Mellette said.

But a decision by school leaders is threatening to change the landscape by cutting sports to save the budget.

"When they started talking about cutting it out all together, I was just puzzled why that would even be a thought." Batten said.

For students, none of it adds up.

"You should have the choice whether to play or not," senior Chelsea Watson said.

"We want to win the state championship," Mellette added. "We came close this year, but we didn't get close enough."

Batten says having no sports would hurt students' chances of getting a college scholarship.

"Scouts wouldn't be here, and it's probably less likely that we would get scholarships," Mellette said.

"For us not to have high school athletics, that would be a huge setback," Batten said. "I just want it to be known that I care about this--and that I'm not gonna let this happen lightly."

Eliminating school athletics is one of several reductions the school board is considering it more cuts come from the state.

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