I Voted Yes to Privately Fund Two West High Soccer Teams

At its June 27, 2005 meeting, the Partnership Committee listened to a request from West High School parents (Friends of West High School Soccer) to fundraise money for an additional 2 soccer teams this fall. A committee member made a motion to allow parents to fundraise the money and that motion passed unanimously. The entire School Board will vote on the Partnership Committee’s recommendation on Monday, July 11th and I hope the majority of the School Board votes yes.
I am a community member on the Partnership Committee, and I voted yes because I want as many children as possible who want to play sports (soccer in this case) to have that opportunity, and I appreciate the parent group stepping forward to take on the job of fundraising the necessary money to field two more teams. I would also like to thank the parent group for changing their name from Friends of West High Soccer to Friends of Madison Soccer, intending to form a city-wide support group if that becomes necessary so kids can play sports in high school.
Was I concerned about equity issues among the 4 Madison high schools who field athletic teams when I voted yes? Not in this instance, because during the 2005-2006 school year each high school will have the opportunity to field up to 66 freshman, sophmore, junior varsity, varsity and combination athletic teams (264 teams in total). This district-wide team structure has a $2 million+ budget for next year that the School Board approved in June 2005.
Further, the up to 66 teams per school that is budgeted for the 2005-2006 academic year is more than the number of teams East and Lafollette High Schools had during the 2004-2005 school year and less than the number of teams that West and Memorial High Schools had this past school year.
The West High proposal is NOT about one school having teams and another school not having teams because of any disparity due to access to funding. The Athletic Committee that came up with the team structure for next year treated each school equally when it came to the number of teams per sport and total teams that would be funded.
To me, this proposal is about parents and community members a) seeing a demand for soccer greater than the District’s budget can afford next year, and b) working together to come up with a proposal for helping kids play sports. Helping kids – that’s what made so much sense to me in this proposal.
Will the School Board have to have discussions about equity when funding school activities, public vs. private funding for different activities? Yes, definitely, but I don’t think those needed future discussions should stop the School Board from going forward with a proposal that makes sense. I hope a majority of the School Board supports this proposal on Monday, July 11th. I think it’s a proposal that is good for kids, works within the existing athletic infrastructure, and we will be able to learn from this effort for future discussions about how sports are funded. Thank you, parents and community members for coming forward to help Madison’s students.