Middle School Sports Compete for Funding in Torrington

By Brad Drazen
|  Tuesday, Mar 25, 2014  |  Updated 6:56 AM EDT
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Middle School Sports Compete for Funding in Torrington

Middle school sports are on the chopping block in Torrington, but there are plenty of people in town who don't want to see them go, including several members of the Board of Education.

Middle school athletics make up a quarter of one percent of the school budget, but they're getting far more than their share of attention these days.

At tonight's special budget committee public hearing, residents, teachers and board members voiced their frustration with the superintendent's 72.5 million dollar spending plan for 2014-15.

The plan doesn't allocate the 100 thousand dollars needed for a middle school sports program. Board Vice Chair Fiona Cappabianca says the budget has very little wiggle room.

"Between contractual obligations, mandated special education cost, there's very little discretionary money left, so choices have to be made," says Cappabianca.

Many who came to the hearing did so in support of keeping the balls bouncing in the middle school gym, including basketball player, Ray Rodriguez.

"Playing a school sport is part of your childhood, and you shouldn't have to wait until high school to play and it's really sad with obesity in America," says Rodriguez.

Fitness is just one benefit says Cheryl Petersen.

"They really like getting into sports. it does help them lot and keeps them geared into a better student," says the mother of a 6th and 8th grader.

Fiona Cappabianca says she and her fellow board members are effectively in a no win situation.

"We don't want to lay off teachers and we don't want our middle schoolers out after school with nothing to do," says the Vicve Chair.

The board of education did take a straw poll tonight they do not support the elimination of sports in the middle school.

The board reconvenes Wednesday night for another special meeting and the budget is on the agenda.
 

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