This is the first in a series of stories examining what area athletic directors are faced with as they develop their budget proposals for the 2011-12 season.
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake has been one of the Suburban Council's shining athletic star schools for many years. Its teams routinely contend for if not win Section II titles, and its athletes go on to successful collegiate careers.
The trick is maintaining that athletic excellence in the face of current economic conditions.
Athletic director Bob McGuire said the key is having the community directly support the 27 varsity teams offered every year through the various booster clubs.
"We wouldn't be where we are without that," said McGuire. "We have great, supportive parents. It's a lot of work in terms of what our parents have had to sacrifice, and they've had to come up with a lot in terms of donations."
McGuire said the school district pays what it can to keep each sport going, with the booster clubs making up the difference.
"We're different than a lot of schools," said McGuire. "In 90 percent of the schools, if it's not in their budget, then they don't do it. If it's not in our school budget, then we look at what the booster clubs can do in terms of donations."
The community support can only help so much, though. McGuire has had to make cuts to the interscholastic program the last few years, with the most drastic coming this year when all teams had to go from four to three levels.
"We cut either freshman or modified teams," said McGuire. "What I did was I left it up to the individual varsity coaches to determine what level they wanted to drop."
McGuire said he doesn't foresee another drastic cut in programs offered this time, but more cuts will have to be made.