Alabama
12:28 pm
Wed September 10, 2003

Programs to be eliminated as part of education cuts

Montgomery, AL – Many Alabama middle and junior high schools will have to eliminate their sports programs -- as Alabama's public schools are now facing deep budget cuts.

Dan Washburn, executive director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association, predicts the first option for many local superintendents will be to reduce or eliminate sporting programs at middle schools, in an effort to save high school varsity programs.

Washburn said cuts maybe more severe in school systems with no budget reserves as they attempt to survive a third straight year of proration.

Officials contend the cuts are necessary after Alabama voters, by a more than two-to-one margin, rejected Governor Bob Riley's tax and accountability package. Washburn said he's disappointed the referendum was defeated, but not surprised.

Although teaching and coaching positions are safe through this school year, that will change next year. Washburn expects massive layoffs. He said when a school system's budget consists mostly of salaries, you have to cut people.