Sports

JV soccer at high schools put on hold

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

It doesn’t look like high schools in Federal Way will be playing junior varsity soccer in the fall. The Federal Way School Board has directed district staff to pull funding out of the proposed 2004-05 budget for JV soccer.

District assistant superintendent Mark Davidson recommended funding the eight boys and girls JV programs at the four Federal Way high schools with $55,000, which would cover coaches, uniforms, referees, transportation and other miscellaneous costs.

“In general, it’s about academic urgencies,” said Federal Way School Board member Charles Hoff. “We have a limited amount of resources and a lot of kids who we do a lot of remedial work with because we have to pass the WASL test in 2006.”

At a study session July 26, the board asked district staff to allocate the $55,000 targeted for JV soccer, along with $105,000 slated for outdoor education, to add hours to library aides or possibly another item.

“They have the prerogative to do that,” Davidson said. “The board really owns the budget.”

The $55,000 was originally budgeted to start a Junior ROTC program at Todd Beamer High School, which wasn’t going to form this year.

Creating junior varsity soccer teams has been a hot topic during the summer school board session.

Several parents, coaches and players have attended meetings, lobbying the district to include the programs. Currently football, basketball and volleyball have a total of three teams (varsity, JV and “C” team) in all Federal Way high schools, while wrestling, golf, baseball, cross country and fastpitch have junior varsity programs.

“Needless to say we are disappointed with the school board,” said Wendy Murrray, a parent of a Thomas Jefferson soccer player. “We feel we fell upon deaf ears. They have made it appear we care less about academics than sports, which is far from the truth.” 

Many parents who have spoken at several board meetings about the creation of JV programs, have children who excel in school, many of them in the honors program, according to Murray. 

“We believe there is more to school than simply academics and anyone who says differently, in our opinion, is mistaken,” she said. “We were hoping the board would see this as we do, but it appears we were unsuccessful.”

This is the second straight year junior varsity soccer was scheduled to be implemented. Last summer, it was taken out of the district’s budget because of a $6.4 million shortfall in state funding. A shortfall that caused the district to start charging student/athletes $70 a sport at the high-school level and $40 in the middle schools.

The pay-to-play price is set to stay the same next school year, according to Davidson. There had been discussions about possibly raising the fees to $70/$105 per sport, but the district is set to receive more money from the state next school year. The district started charging student-athlete fees in hope of raising $300,000 a year.

“It’s always tough,” Hoff said. “But we have got some urgent needs in academics and that takes precedence over athletics.”

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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