Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Intramurals on itsway out

By Kristine Giurcio

PLATTSBURGH, NY− The Plattsburgh City School District cut intramural sports from the school budget leaving community members questioning the priorities of the board of education.
Six years ago many budget areas were reduced due to state aid reductions, included in which were after-school clubs such as intramural sports at the 6th grade level.
Connor Mulholland, a Clinton Community College student, worked as a volunteer for the intramurals after school program.
“I worked with 4th and 5th grade soccer players about 3 years ago. These two grades still continue to participate in intramural sports today. Intramurals after elementary school being discontinued seemed to cause concern for community members,” Mulholland said.
James Short, the superintendent of the Plattsburgh City School District, said he thinks intramural sports make for a more positive impact on children and can aid in growth and learning.
“This year the board of education would like to focus more on the health and wellness of the whole student,” Short said. “Bringing back these programs could be a good start.”

Short’s plan to revive these programs deems possible. Fortune Ellison, the director of special education, said she thinks that the new budget will be more beneficial for everyone.
“The new budget will have reductions with a spending increase, opening new doors for us but not affecting any existing programs,” Ellison said.
While changes to the budget will bring back the intramural program, Mulholland finds it to be unnecessary.
“6th grade is the start of middle school and while I think it’s good for children to participate in friendly after-school programs and make new friends, I think that it’s even more important for them to learn about real competition,” Mulholland said. “Sports aren’t about winning, but competition and commitment to a serious varsity school team could teach them a lot about hard work, perseverance, and being a part of something bigger than themselves.”
Leah Casey, a junior at Beekmantown High School, stated that she had never participated in intramural sports that were provided by the district in the past.
“I think for younger kids especially, intramurals is a good program. If they had it for high school students I would join club soccer. Varsity teams take up a lot of time. I would want to try something a little less involved to see if I enjoyed soccer enough to let it become a big part of my life,” Casey said. “I think the district should make club sports for all ages, not just elementary and middle school students.”
Taylor Nelson, who is also a junior at Beekmantown High School, said she thinks the program is positive for students that are often overlooked.
“As a high school student who doesn’t participate on a school sports team, it annoys me how people were so mad about intramural sports being cut. I’m sure a lot of other things were taken away too,” Nelson said. “The only reason I think they should bring back the club teams is for the middle school students who can’t compete to the level of another child their age. I don’t care about sports, but out of all the students there are in this town, not everyone is going to make the school team and they should still be able to play if that’s what they want.”

As the head of the board of education, Short is aware of the conversation the budgetary cut has caused over the years. The board is heavily leaning towards reviving the middle school program due to how inexpensive it is to maintain and the attempt to please everyone.

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