WRBM looks at taking over school sports

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RANGELY I As school districts throughout Colorado scramble to find ways to trim their budgets — Tim Webber thinks maybe it’s time to think outside the box. Webber, director of the Western Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation and Park District, tossed out an idea at last week’s school board meeting that, while nothing has been decided, could save the school district money.
Webber brought up the option of the recreation and park district taking over operation of the school district’s junior high and high school athletic programs.
“Actually, it isn’t an offer at this time. I made that comment as a parent,” Webber said. “I just said with the budget troubles they’re having, if we save $200,000 for the school district, would they be interested? They’re talking cutting teachers and education, so I want to see if it’s a possibility. This is just one option.”
Webber said the idea will be discussed by the recreation district’s board of directors.
“This is just something we’re looking into. The biggest thing is can we do it without putting the rec district in jeopardy and what will it alleviate for the school district?” Webber said. “We would take over the expenditures and revenue, though I don’t think there’s much on that side, but what else do you do? It’s the reality and sign of the times for all school districts. Something’s gotta change.”
Steve Kraft, finance director for the school district, said, “It’s in the early stages, but it’s something we’re interested in.”
Webber said preserving quality education should be a priority.
“If they can help bail out the banks and credit card companies, why can’t they bail out the school system?” Webber said.