Members of the Guilderland community packed out the High School's Large Group Instruction room at the Tuesday, April 27 meeting of the School Board to voice their support for the cheerleading program and freshman sports, two activities cut in the proposed budget. After hearing the concerns, the board would ask the district to consider a method by which the eliminated programs can be funded by private donations.
The elimination of any sports program is unacceptable to us as taxpaying citizens, and voting members of the school district, said Kelly Smith, who began the outpouring of support for the program in the public comment portion of the meeting. Smith is the mother of a member of the high school cheerleading squad and a member of the varsity football team.
"What does the school district stand to gain from a sport that costs $3,700 to run?" said Smith. Smith said last year $18,000 worth of entrance fees were collected from the school's sporting events, with at least half attributed to varsity football "Nine thousand dollars in revenue must clearly be enough to support a $3,700 cheer program that brings show much energy and spirit to every football game," she said.
Smith was followed by a number of parents, cheerleaders, football players, and community members on hand to support the cheerleading squad and freshman sports.
Gary Applebee, a parent of two cheerleaders at the high school, said he disapproved of the way the decision to cut the program was made, particularly with what he said was the lack of notice given. "There is the distinct impression that this decision was made in a vacuum, that is was made as an administrative check in a box," he said.
The elimination of freshman and repeat sports was not included in the original budget presented in March; however, it made its way into the revised budget presented to the board at their Tuesday, April 13 meeting when the budget was passed by the board.