To Mr. Frank Gargiulo, Superintendent of the Hudson County Schools of Technology:
At the most recent County Board of Education meeting it was decided to eliminate the sports programs from the County High Schools. Everyone is aware that this is a time of “belt tightening” but it seems that these cuts have been levied against the County Schools in a very unfair and hasty manner. According to a recent article in the Jersey Journal by Karina Arrue on 3/3/10 and another in the Hudson Reporter by Jim Hague on 4/23/10, 12 mayors pressured the County to cut sports programs in order to bolster municipal budgets and in response to allegedly recruiting athletes away from their home districts.
The public justification for this action was that the students could participate in sports at their sending schools. However, this is not a feasible option for most students unless the students live in one of the towns surrounding the High Schools. Logistically, many students would not be able to make the practices or games in sufficient time to participate, even if they were accepted by their sending districts. One of the many unfortunate results from the Board of Education’s actions is the sad reality that students who were counting on sports as their ticket to college are out of luck.
Don’t allow our children to become pawns in a political game. The cost of the athletic program according to Patrick Villanova’s article in the Jersey Journal is $368,000 per year or less than 1 per cent of the overall school budget of almost $50 million. To suggest that money or lack of it is the driving factor for the decisions that have been made is, at best, disingenuous. As you are aware, many parents offered to contribute to the programs by paying fees as they do in Bergen County. This option was rejected by the Board of Education. One must ask why a solution presented by parents, many of whom are paying local real estate taxes, was turned down as well.
Furthermore, there is concern about a second wave of cuts affecting after-school, Enrichment Programs and Summer Programs, which allow motivated students to further their general education and advance to otherwise unobtainable Advanced Placement courses. These programs are the reason County Schools rank in the top 5 per cent of the Nation. It took vision and creativity to develop these world class schools almost 15 years ago. We can use the same vision and dedication to see us through the current economic climate. I urge you to go back to the table and review the decisions that have been made on the $50 million dollar budget. Additionally I ask you to reach out and assure the mayors that we want them on board. We are willing to share the burden, but we would be short sighted to react with crisis management and undermine the entire program.
For further information, contact email@example.com.
Concerned Parents of the County Schools