City, school leaders plan for sports program switch

Posted by: Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) -- Ready for a new play, city leaders laid out their plan to turn over the $1.2 million Junior High sports program to the Montgomery County Board of Education.

Administrators say the city violates state regulations the way things are now.

Out of the 49 part-time coaches on staff, according to the City, only 31 are employed by the Board of Education and 16 currently teach where they coach.

All coaches, according to the guideline, are supposed to be certified teachers.

City leaders propose handing the program over, letting some of the coaches go, and sharing the burden of the costs during a two year transition.

"The preservation of middle school athletics would be just as a fervent issue as the preservation of high school athletics," explained Clay Slagle, interim superintendent of the Montgomery Public School system.

Parents aren't so keen on the idea, angry about the possibility of mixing athletics into a shrinking budget.

"Your strapped Board of Education can't afford to pay for reading and math, but you're going to tell us they can afford to pay for sports? that's just not going to happen," said Melissa McLendon of Montgomery.

"I do not think that any price tag--no matter how big or how small--should be made at the cost of our children," exclaimed Christine Alexander, also of Montgomery.

Though the financial future of Junior High athletics is unclear, city leaders say nothing will change.

"You're going to have the same athletics as you do today, it's just going to be run by the appropriate authority," Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange told parents at a Tuesday work session.

The Board of Education will consider the proposal next Tuesday.

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