sports - Walkersville Freshman Football
9th Grade Sports the Least of Our Problems As Revenue Shrinks for County Education

by Hanna Houck

Due to lack of funds in the budget, Frederick County Board of Education has voted to cut freshman sports programs from the county high schools.

This is the seventh year in a row where the board is operating under the same revenue as the previous year. The budget was in the red by over $15 million so the Board had to make many cuts. Those cuts included increasing class size, reducing summer school, reducing technology replacement, reducing book replacement, reducing ELO positions which help at risk kids, and cutting 9th grade sports.

Brad Young, president of Frederick County Board of Education said in an email, “As you can see, all the first cuts directly impact students in the classroom. The only one that doesn’t is 9th grade sports. I felt as a Board member that we could not make all the severe cuts we made in the classroom and make no cuts in sports.”

Removing freshman sports programs would save around $60,000; in tough economical times this is a much needed action.

This decision is causing an uproar among soon to-be freshman athletes, parents, and other community members. Martin Engel, a Linganore parent and commissioner of the Linganore Oakdale Urbana Youth Athletic Association, has started a petition to save the freshman sports and has around 1,200 signatures., according to the Frederick News-Post.

Engel’s argument includes the fact that youth athletic associates are expensive and not all parents can afford for their kids to play on them. In an interview with the Frederick News Post Engel said “I don’t want it to seem like it’s more important than academics, I just want to make sure there’s a venue to play sports at.”

Just in our school alone we had to cut 17 classes for the fall and the school choir, Removing classes affects hundreds of students at Walkersville, but thousands in the county. Removing the freshman football and basketball team will only affect hundreds in the county total.

Young also said, “As you may know, I am the biggest proponent of sports that there is around. I coach at Walkersville and at Hood College. I know the value of sports and the role it plays in the development of kids. That being said, I also know that Walkersville High lost 17 sections of classes for the fall and its choir! The cuts we made by increasing class size affects all 40,000 of our students while the 9th grade sports cut only affects a few hundred. Most of those kids will either make the JV team at their school or play in a rec. league as a replacement. We do not have a replacement venue for those that lose classes.”
“We are definitely for ninth grade sports so it will affect the freshmen, but I’m sure the Board will find a solution that will make everything better in the long run,” said Walkersville Football coach Joe Polce.