Letter to the Editor: Should WRBM take over RHS sports?

The question of whether the Western Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation and Park District should help the RE-4 School District for a year by using the Recreation and Park District’s fund balance (reserves) to take over the sporting activities of the school district was brought to the Western Rio Blanco Recreation and Park District Board of Directors at its regularly scheduled meeting on May 10.
The RE-4 School District currently spends approximately $175,000 to $200,000 a year on sporting activities for the students. Currently, the RE-4 School District is looking at having to cut $400,000 from a budget that is already stretched to limits, so tough decisions have to be made by the school district.
Would it be advantageous for the Recreation and Park District to take over the sports for a year as a pilot program to see if the two entities could work together to make this work? The upside would be the school district would not have to make as deep of cuts, thus saving jobs and also giving the school district more time to come up with a better plan. After the pilot program, the two districts will need to re-evaluate to see if the school district can implement how they would cover the sports side of it. Or if unable, the public may be asked if they would support a mil levy increase, so sports may continue as a viable program for the students and the community. The downside is the Recreation and Park District Board of Directors is concerned about using the Recreation and Park District’s fund balance to assist the school district with this issue and would then be expected to continue without any replacement of the funds (through a mil levy increase) that would be used to support the schools’ sports activities.
Would the public support the Recreation and Park District taking over the sports program from the RE-4 School District using the Recreation and Park District funds for one year (July 2010-June 2011) to see if this would be a positive fix and a positive working relationship? Would the public support a mill levy increase in the future to continue to have sports as a part of the school functions? These are tough questions, but the Recreation and Park District would like the public to weigh in on this matter. Please contact Tim Webber, director, Western Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation and Park District, with your comments. E-mail: twebber@westernrioblanco.org, mailing address, 611 South Stanolind Ave., or, phone, 675-8211.
Tim Webber, director
Western Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation and Park District