"I'm 100% in support of ninth
grade athletics, and whatever needs to be done needs to be done," says Tim
Talks are in the early stages, but parents say kids need to start early if they want to advance as athletes.
"Ninth grade sports is usually a theater program for the varsity sports," says Mason.
"The opportunity is very important
to grow as an athlete, I think if you mix with the bigger kids, I don't think
the freshman would get much playing time. It could discourage them, it could
move them to another sport, or they might not play at all," says Mike Hawley,
But schools officials say enrollment is down, and the cut would save 86 thousand dollars.
"We started seeing a decline in numbers in the situation, and others around the county too, and when you start seeing that it causes concern," says Gov. Thomas Johnson Athletic Director Stephen Nibbs.
The board says there are other concerns and priorities they need to focus on.
"Recruiting and retaining
excellent staff, boosting safety and security at our schools, and enhancing
technology, and those are the priorities the budget focuses on and what we've
heard from the community," says Michael Doerrer,
Right now 470 students participate in ninth grade sports, throughout ten different high-schools.
The school board voted to continue funding the sports program and make cuts elsewhere.