To the editor,

Recently, the Oswego City School District Board of Education approved the start of high-risk varsity sports including boys and girls basketball, boys and girls ice hockey, and cheerleading. Estimated costs to support these teams run roughly $75,000 including coaching salaries, transportation costs, cleaning and other related costs to support the approximately 100 student-athletes.

During the meeting, multiple board members brought up the need for equity and the obligation to focus not only on sports, but also on students whose interests may not be in athletics. Given that they believe spending $750 per student-athlete to support a six-week season is warranted, I think that it is imperative that they should make good on its belief in “equity” and provide support to other student activities within the school district.

For instance, if OCSD allocated the same level of funding to provide additional academic, music, and social/emotional support, any one or more of the following could be possible:

• Free online SAT prep classes for the junior class.

• Online prep classes to support all students preparing for AP exams in May.

• College essay writing and college counseling services for the junior and sophomore classes.

• In-person string, jazz, and dance ensembles.

• Up to 1,500 hours in additional academic intervention support for students at risk. Currently, one out of everyfive students does not graduate on time from OHS, and according to recent assessment data shared during board meetings only 30 percent are performing at grade level within K-8.

• Up to 750 hours of mental health and behavioral counseling support.

During this pandemic year where OHS and OMS students have not seen the inside of a classroom in over 9 months, the OCSD Board has to ensure the decisions that it is making are both equitable and fair. Funding sports alone without providing support at the same level for other activities is not equitable and should be remedied.

Neelesh Shah

Oswego

(1) comment

ariel

I wish we used the European model for secondary school activities, athletics and scholarship. Their's is a mature method of "having your sports and scholarship, too", through their use of extra-school sports clubs. As a result, their students graduate with a better education, exceeding the US on achievement tests. Combined with an 8 hour school day and only 3-4 classes per day, it's no wonder.

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