OSSEO - The Osseo School Board on Tuesday voted to reduce its 2008-09 budget by $16 million. The plan calls for nearly 200 jobs to be cut, two elementary schools to be closed, larger class sizes and the elimination of many junior high sports programs. Cuts to athletics and activities were to total $400,000.
Kate Maguire, assistant superintendent of leadership, training and learning in the Osseo School District, works with athletics and activities. She said Wednesday that the district chose to eliminate many separate junior high sports programs and change several sports into a seventh- through 12th-grade model, a cost savings by eliminating some junior high level coaches.
School officials started making these changes during their last round of budget reductions in 2002, she said. They also created an intramural league in junior high to provide a similar athletic opportunity for those students and created an athletic advisory committee. They also are working with their local athletic associations to attempt to make sure students have other sports opportunities in the community.
Maguire said they haven't yet addressed whether gate fees, which are $7 for adults and $5 for students, and participation fees should be increased. High school students in the district pay $180 to participate in sports, like football or volleyball, and pay $90 to participate in activities like marching band or the high school musical. The junior high participation fee is half of that, or $90 for sports and $45 for activities. Maguire said any junior high student who participates in a seventh- through 12th-grade sport, like gymnastics, would have to pay the high school participation fee.
Plan A for the Brainerd district includes $290 participation fees for athletics while Plan B includes $380 participation fees for high school athletes. Brainerd's current participation fees are $50 for middle school students and $80 for high school students.
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