By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/14/11
This may be a lacrosse website, but today we take a time out to analyze the recent budget presented by our new governor, former Lebanon Valley College lacrosse standout Tom Corbett.
The governor proposes to cut Pennsylvania’s education budget by $1 billion, making massive slashes to higher education and cuts that could further cripple inner-city schools, already reeling with lack of funding and other woes.
Being a public school teacher myself, I see clearly the effects of these cuts – those which go way beyond the fact that our salaries will clearly be affected. Yes, I know we’re in a budget crisis, but is making drastic cuts to education the way to go?
For sports teams, the cuts undoubtedly will have an impact. What are the chances that new programs will be added? Lacrosse has been growing at a significant rate around the state, but it will clearly be more difficult for school districts to add any sport at the varsity level.
Point in case: for years the coaches at Dallas High in Luzerne County worked to add boys’ and girls’ lacrosse as varsity sports. The school board passed the teams as varsity squads last year only when the program leaders went to great lengths to raise the money themselves to pay for varsity status.
Here in Philadelphia, the push to build lacrosse in the Public League has been strong from local leaders, league officials, and tireless work from the Philadelphia Lacrosse Association and LEAPS. But you wonder how much of a hit the budget will cause in the drive to build legitimate lacrosse programs in the city where the sport can be classified as non-traditional.
Across the suburbs, the budget cuts will also be felt. Athletes may be asked to pay more and more of the bill and who knows what teams may be cut if the chance comes up.
Worse yet, is the question of how the proposed school voucher program will affect sports. Vouchers would assist students from low-achieving schools to move to another public school or a private school of their choice.
This may impact sports like football and basketball much more than lacrosse because inner-city student-athletes may seize the chance to cash in on their vouchers to get a better education and play on a good team. You wonder what it will do to the face of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, which frowns upon anyone transferring for any reason other than strictly academics.
But really, the big losers will be the students, with education programs everywhere being cut.
It’s funny that the governor is increasing funds for prisons. With much less funding going to education, we’re going to need them.
Sorry, Gov. Corbett, this cut gets you a 2-minute penalty for slashing!