Albemarle County Parents React to Possible Swimming and Diving Program Cut

By: Ruth Morton Email
By: Ruth Morton Email

January 31, 2013

Parents weighed in on Thursday night's suggestion to cut swimming and diving to help balance Albemarle Schools' budget.

Last night, schools superintendent Pam Moran suggested eliminating the swimming and diving program as the second cut in a list to balance the near $7 million budget shortfall.

Friday night, we met up with some parents at Albemarle High Schools' swim meet at Smith Aquatic Center in Charlottesville and asked what they thought.

Parents said swimming teaches kids time management and leadership, has given some the chance to swim in college and even get scholarships. They suggested an across the board cut to all sports or charging parents a participation fee instead.

"Maybe you do a cut throughout all the sports. To just eliminate swimming seemed a little bit odd to me," said Mike Jones, the parent of two Albemarle High School swimmers: a current swimmer and a graduate.

"I would rather see address[ing] athletic budget across the board and not singling out one specific sport, whether it's swimming or anything else. What I've heard is one of the options would be to increase the participation fee, put the onus on the parents. I think most parents would be willing to pay an extra 25 to 30 dollars if that would help cover the budget for teams across the board. I know I would," said Ernie Harper.

Harper is the parent of three Albemarle High School swimmers, one a graduate, two currently on the team.

"I would pay the extra money to make sure that swimming or wrestling or track or lacrosse or any other sport doesn't get cut. I'd like to see other kids have that opportunity," said Harper.

Harper's oldest child attends Virginia Tech on a swimming scholarship and his middle child will attend Penn State on a swimming scholarship in the fall.

"I would love for my son have that same opportunity and I think high school swimming has been integral to they're getting those opportunities to swim in college," said Harper. "It's nice to have Patriots from Albemarle High School doing that and other swimmers from Albemarle County."

Eliminating the swimming and diving program would save Albemarle county schools about $29,000.

Moran suggested swimming and diving along with a list of other possible cuts. The list is not final. The school board may create its own list of cuts it recommends to the Board of Supervisors. The board must also approve all cuts befor any programs are eliminated next fiscal year.

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