Jordan-Elbridge Athletics Director Eric Varney has been busy calculating and number crunching to make this year’s sports programs – varsity tennis, golf, indoor track and seventh-grade and eighth-grade modified basketball teams — a reality.
At Thursday’s Aug. 24 Board of Education meeting at Ramsdell Middle School, Varney announced that the proposed sports teams to be cut from 2011-12 budget has been restored due to an in-depth, thorough cost analysis report he conducted.
“You look at your big expenses as far as your sports’ concern,” Varney said, “Let’s take the tennis program, you look at the equipment used, what does the student-athletes provide for themselves? What does the school typically provide? What does the school need to replace every year and the travel expenses?”
Varney’s first focus was to take the sports that were supposed to be discontinued and look at their schedules from last year. He digested a multiplicity of factors again, this time looking at the mileage cost and cost for the bus driver having a certain amount of time.
“What I was able to do,” Varney said, “for each event, each game, each match that we had, I was able to come up with a cost, and then a cumulative cost for each sport, and then the three sports together. At the end of the day, we throw in the coaches’ salary, transportation, equipment and supply cost. You are looking at that figure and comparing it against the budget for this year.”
The same process, according to Varney, was implemented with the seventh and eighth-grade modified basketball programs. Typically, most modified sports programs are separate, one seventh-grade team and one eighth-grade team. However, due to school budget cuts state wide, one of the movements on the table was to combine both teams — an option that wasn’t necessary when Varney highlighted two crucial cost-saving avenues:
“As far as basketball is concerned,” Varney said, “the teams we play geographically are really close to us and both teams travel together. Really, you have minimal transportation costs compared to some other sports.”
Varney credits the parents and the community for being extremely supportive and patient during a time of uncertainty with their children, especially with its modified sports programs.
“Sitting through the board meetings last spring” Varney said, “and the budget process when our modified sports were on the table to be cut, some of the most vocal board meetings were parents who wanted to see modified sports continue here.”
The light continues to flicker as many school districts move on and forge its own path during this monetary difficult stage, Varney’s insight and conclusions are no different from any of the institutions across the state.
“We want to provide as many opportunities as we can for our students,” Varney said, “but the fiscal reality is that schools are really under the gun. I don’t think we and the schools across the state have reached rocked bottom yet. “
“This year is obviously tougher than last year,” he said. “The next year will be even tougher. Everything is going to be closely scrutinized.”
Community pep rally set
At 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 8, the Jordan-Elbridge Central School District will be hosting a community pep rally to pay tribute to the start of its sports and celebrate its newest addition to its athletic complex — the field house.
The field house capital project took roughly two years to complete after being approved by the voters in the community.
Athletic contests will be held there for its modified and J-E Youth Football League and varsity boys and girls soccer, lacrosse, marching band and track and field.
Varney encourages all community members and students to attend to cheer on their local sports teams.