Budget Cuts Could Mean No Sports for SJ Schools

A permanent timeout could be possible for South Bay high school sports programs

It could be a permanent time out.

One Bay Area school district superintendent is proposing a dramatic fix for his budget problems -- eliminate school sports.

The state's $14.8 billion budget shortfall could mean such a cutback for schools that the East Side Union School District in San Jose is considering the move.
The superintendent planned to go before the board Thursday night to suggest eliminating the programs.

"This morning my youngest son who played basketball called me and said, 'Dad are you nuts?'" said Superintendent Bob Nunez.

Nunez said he insists he is not doing this to shock people but because times are hard and tough decisions have to be made.

"Sports is number one because everyone is talking about it, but we're putting three more students in every class," Nunez said. "We're also eliminating 18 percent of the administration staff in the district and a large number of classroom employees."

There are 40 teams among the 11 high schools in the district.

"We think we're a valuable part of the educational process," said Oak Grove High School Athletic Director Ed Buller. "One of the things that superintendent Nunez said is he wants to keep cuts from the classroom as much as he can. Well to these 6,000 students, our tennis courts, our fields, our swimming pools - these are our classrooms."

Buller said students stopped by all day asking if they are going to have a team to play on next year.

The final decision on where cuts will be made lies with the board.

The superintendent said he has already had a major response from the community, including from the Oakland A's. The team is making the District part of its educational fund program.

However, the superintendent warned that even if the athletic programs can be saved, more cuts could be on the way.

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