CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools announced a plan Thursday that will allow most middle school sports programs to continue.
CMS had originally budgeted for no middle school sports.
Instead, district leaders now believe they have enough funding to support football, basketball and track & field for boys, as well as basketball, volleyball, cheerleading and track & field for girls.
“We are very excited at the district level,” said interim athletic director Sue Doran. “It is tremendous for character building. This puts student athletes in daily contact with coaches who can impact their lives.”
However, not all sports will be funded under the current plan. Soccer and golf will be eliminated, along with boys’ baseball and girls’ softball.
Friday, some student-athetes at a local gym say they're still planning to play sports that will be canceled, just not with CMS.
"I'll be playing for a club," explained 8th graded Robbie Swartz. "I won't be playing for school, but I wanted to play for school."
There are people in the community who are trying to have all middle school sports return.
“We’re alive, but we’ve got a lot more growing to do. I want all those sports back. I want more back,” said Tripp Roakes, a baseball coach and the founder of the group “Save Middle School Sports.”
By cutting four sports, CMS does expect about 2,000 student-athletes to be impacted. This year, 6,260 athletes took part in middle school sports. Next year, CMS is projecting about 4,300 will take part.
The new plan – being called a “hybrid plan” by CMS athletic officials – will cost about $833,000 to fund in the 2011-2012 school year.
That funding will come from a $50 middle school athlete participation fee, a $1 ticket surcharge on all games, and funding from private donors.
“None of the money, zero, not one penny that we are using to fund middle school athletics is taken away from a teacher’s job,” said Doran.
Doran said it would likely take about $325,000 in additional funding to bring back all sports. But she cautioned it would need to be a stable source of funding that could be counted on year after year, instead of a one-time charitable gift that could fluctuate each school year.
“If we are ever going to bring back soccer, baseball, softball or golf, it is going to take community involvement,” she said.
Each middle school is expected to announce further details through a ConnectEd message that will go out to parents next week.