Columbia School Board to Discuss Cutting Swim Teams
COLUMBIA - The Columbia school board met Monday night to discuss a proposed budget cut that would eliminate the high school swim teams. The district would save nearly $47,000 by cutting the teams. The cut is one of a group proposed by superintendent Chris Belcher to balance the budget for the next school year.
Belcher's proposed budget cuts would save the district a total of more than $1 million. With 42 swimmers, each swimmer costs the district more than $1,100.
"The athletic programs cause a lot more of an emotional response, but we've been cutting teachers and cutting back on certain academic programs as well," said Belcher.
A group of swim supporters have discussed the current proposal. The group includes current swimmers, divers, coaches and parents from the high school teams, the Columbia Swim Club and the University of Missouri team.
The group cites swimmers historically having posted the highest GPAs among other athletic programs and a higher graduation rate at the college level.
"To see it ever get cut would just be a shame because it would be wasting a lot of people's talents, time, effort and legacy that's built up," said Hickman swimmer Nicole Mello.
Along with the swimming program, the Board also discussed possible alterations to the summer school program.
It suggested change the number of summer school days from 24 to 20.
In 2010, summer school cost more than $3.5 million. With the proposed change, summer school for 2011 could cost more than $2.5 million.
He estimates the total reduction in budget for the 2011-2012 school year to be almost $2 million.
Belcher said he understands everybody wants the programs to stay, so he encourages everyone to help think of possible solutions to generate funds.
He emphasized Monday's meeting would only be a discussion meeting and no final decisions would be made.