Dear Manhasset Board of Education,
I am writing to request that the board review the budget cuts for the combination sports teams at the Manhasset Middle School. The cuts to this current years budget have reduced the opportunities for participation. A wave of pain, embarrassment and disappointment is coming, as many middle school students will not make teams they try out for.
Middle school sports programs are more than just a building block for the high school sports programs; they are about the individual development of the children. Athletics is one aspect of their growth and maturity. By eliminating this, schools are reducing the opportunities for kids to not only participate but also to mature in the proper manner. It is important for kids during the middle school years to know that they belong and fit in. Cutting children in middle school and not having an alternative tells them that they don’t fit in and it can damage a child’s self esteem while reinforcing an athletic culture.
In Manhasset’s overview of the educational programs and services the district offers, it states: “The middle school athletic experience permits a child to participate at a level consistent with his or her ability and interest. During this period of rapid physical and emotional maturation, each child is able to participate in a sport or activity at a level to continue on the highly competitive interscholastic varsity level.” I ask the board and the athletic director to administer the department’s budget so that we can continue to serve all middle school athletes.
If kids get cut, they are unlikely to try out in future years. Cutting is especially unfair to students who mature later and weakens competitive edge by reducing the pool of potential talent. This potentially will make our high school programs less competitive over the long term.
The middle school coaching budget was cut 23.8% last year vs. 12% for the high school. The middle school athletic budget was cut 11.5 % last year vs. 7.2% at the high school. The board is considering the reinstatement of high school assistant coaches. I ask that the Board give equal consideration to both middle school and high school programs. All athletes learn self-discipline, the value of hard work and self-sacrifice, goal setting, problem solving, self- evaluation and teamwork.
Elaine C Goodwin