HUNTINGDON COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Huntingdon County schools were at risk of falling into a budget deficit, and last night, program cuts were approved to prevent that from happening.
Among the cuts are two athletic teams: boy’s volleyball and girl’s field hockey.
The decision came from the school board, who said there wasn’t enough interest to keep the teams active.
“It’s not so much the money, it’s more so lack of participation or lack of competition,” said Tammy Peterson, school board member & athletic committee chair for the Huntingdon Area School District.
For example, Peterson said the boy’s volleyball team only had one student sign up and there were zero applications for a coach. Peterson said there are higher participation levels for girl’s field hockey; however, not enough teams to play against.
“In our Mountain League we’re only one of three schools that field a team,” said Peterson. “So in order for us this coming year to have a full season, we’re looking at having to take those kids clear out to the Pittsburgh area, and with the budget crunch that’s unrealistic.”
The cut will save the school about $36,000.
The decision was not unanimous.
“Me personally, it had nothing to do with really the savings, it has to do with participation and lack of competition,” said Peterson.
Previously, the Huntingdon swim team was on the chopping block as well; however, the board ultimately decided to keep that team as it has about 50 students on the roster.
“Even though the cost is rising on that, when we look at the opportunities our females have in the winter, there’s only girl’s basketball and swimming,” said Peterson. “A lot of kids would miss out on any sports availability in the winter if we eliminated swimming.”