By Courtney Jones | FOX Sports West & PRIME TICKET
June 16, 2010 | You would think this is more of a national crisis, but until you see how budget cuts are affecting you locally that you start to realize how much our struggling economy has become a huge trickle-down effect.
Back in early April, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) was facing an insurmountable financial deficit and was very close to cutting high school athletics from the overall budget completely for the 2010-2011 school year.
With the clock winding down, some prominent figures in the Los Angeles community joined forces and donated over $1.3 million dollars to keep all sports for next season.
Once the city cleared that difficult hurdle, the district laid the law on the upcoming football season in the city section. There have been two major changes to the ever-so-exciting and wildly popular high school football season that will go into effect this fall.
Due to district mandated work furlough days, the opening night of the season will no longer kick off on the Friday of the first full week of September. And gone are the days of playing the second-round playoff games the night before Thanksgiving.
City section schools are not going to be able to host any games on Sept. 10 because schools will be closed, but the football teams are allowed to face an opponent as long as they are not held on a LAUSD field.
When the regular season is over, the district has also mandated that Nov. 24, schools will be closed and unavailable to play a post-season football game. The second-round playoff game is set to get underway on that Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Athletes will also have to come up with a one-time, $24 transportation fee starting in September to account for the $650,000 cut in transportation funding.
The district is trying to make due with what it has been given. I can’t imagine life without prep sports, so I commend everyone who is advocating for high sports in the LAUSD. Prep sports play such a huge role in the development of young people and aids in teaching fundamental life lessons to everyone who is involved.
This is going to make for an interesting school year because my guess is that this is not going to be the last time changes will be made due to the budget crisis. I will be sure to keep you updated.