Community task force to look for ways to fund sports

Group asked to make sustainable funding recommendations to Juneau City Hall

Posted: Thursday, November 15, 2007

The evolving debate over funding a dual sports and activities program in two Juneau high schools has led the city and school district to develop a task force charged with finding ways to fund school sports and activities.

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"The opening of the new high school has brought to light inequities and problems in how all school sports and activities are funded," said Andi Story, Juneau School Board president.

Story joined Mayor Bruce Botelho in announcing on Tuesday creation of the Task Force Exploring Activities Money.

The group, dubbed "TEAM," is made up of community members with backgrounds in sports, activities or finance, according to a press release issued by the Juneau School District.

"I appreciate the willingness of community members to serve on this important task force," Botelho said.

Know and go

• What: First Task Force Exploring Activities Money meeting.

• When: 5 to 6:30 p.m. today.

• Where: Room 214 at Juneau- Douglas High School.

• Why: TEAM is charged with finding ways to fund school sports and activities.

The task force will meet in the next few months and is expected to make sustainable funding recommendations to City Hall and the school district.

Botelho expects the task force members to improve decision-making on the issue.

Several school district officials have mentioned a .5 percent sales tax increase to fund extracurricular programs.

Earlier this month coaches and fundraisers for club sports associated with the high schools told the school district they could not fund dual pay-to-play programs at the current levels. The ad hoc group estimated the annual costs would be nearly $1.5 million.

The current sports and activities budget is $150,000.

The school district is working under a public mandate to develop a broader choice of sports and activities in an effort to attract more students into extracurricular activities.

"Activities and athletics keep students in school and engaged in classroom learning," Story said.

• Contact Greg Skinner at 523-2258 or greg.skinner@juneauempire.com.



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