The Yosemite Unified School District is considering a number of ways to save money due to its deficit, and one consideration - having athletic teams responsible for the cost of transportation to ‘non-league’ out-of-town games - has coaches, players and parents are a little concerned.
Last week the administration communicated to Athletic Director Rusty Oetinger that transportation would be available to the teams - but at a cost - $1.20 per mile for a school van and $3 a mile for a school bus, if the plan is implemented.
One winter team coach estimated it would cost more than $5,000 to pay for transporting the team to non-league games this season.
In an attempt to be pro-active, some of the coaches of winter and spring teams are already looking at ways to raise funds for school transportation, or to rent or lease vans as needed.
“Anything could happen and it could happen quickly ... I want to figure out how to pay for my team’s transportation to out-of-town games right now in case trustees decide to charge us for using school transportation,” one coach stated.
One team held a bake sale this past weekend and one of the booster groups opened a ‘go-fund-me’ account on the internet.
One YHS athlete was telling his doctor about the situation, and the doctor wrote a personal check on the sport to the specific team for $1,000.
“This has not even happened for sure at this point, but people in this generous community have already come up with about $4,000 for various teams,” Oetinger said.
If the district decides to move forward with this idea, Oetinger said parents would be asked to help all they can.
“One area that we are working on currently is to improve some of our transportation policies regarding the transportation of athletes by parents,” Oetinger said. “Currently we have a policy in which parents can bring multiple athletes back from sporting events in their own vehicles. We are doing our due diligence to make sure we can have parents transport athletes to games as well. If we get this piece of the puzzle in place, it will alleviate a big part of the problem and save the district a lot of money.”
While doing research on the subject, Oetinger has discovered that many districts have such policies. One district even has athletes riding public transportation to and from events. The CIF section office has been helping Oetinger with ideas to minimize the effect this will have on athletes and is fully supporting the schools efforts.
Has not been voted on
YHS principal Regina Carr told the Star that the idea of having athletic programs responsible for transportation to ‘non-league’ out-of-town games has not been voted on by trustees.
The next board meeting is 6:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 11, and this issue may or may not be discussed at that time (the agenda for the meeting was not posted as of press time).
“This idea is just one of many ideas and options - pieces of the puzzle we are looking at,” Carr said.
Carr sent a memo to all YHS staff members on Dec. 1, clarifying the district’s current position on providing busing for teams traveling to out-of-town for games.
“It has come to our attention that there are rumors circulating about cuts being made to the high school’s transportation budget for athletic events,” wrote Carr. “The winter and spring sports are not canceled, we are looking for ways to assure we operate within the budget. The district has been transparent about our current budget challenges and conversations are being held with staff members so that we can make the best decisions that we can.”
Badger winter teams that would be impacted if the decision is to charge for transportation are boys and girls basketball, soccer and wrestling.
Spring teams that would be affected include baseball, softball, swimming and track and field.
Carr reminded the public that a link has been set up on the district webpage (http://www.yosemiteusd.com/) titled “Financial Input for YUSD,” for people to provide the district with input related to financial decisions.