By Justine McGuire
Williamston Post staff writer
WILLIAMSTON – Loss of funds has not stopped Williamston High School from providing sports programs for its students.
The high school has avoided cutting sports teams and coaching positions but has had to trade two part-time athletic directors for one part-time athletic director and assistant principal, Mike Freeman, who took on the extra role without additional pay. The school has also had to cut back on uniforms, supplies and materials.
Finance Director Steve Cook said the district has lost $270 per student, or about $500,000. The district’s total budget is just shy of $16 million.
Williamston High School Principal Jeffery Thoenes said that sports have had minimal cuts because, overtime, general funding for sports has been replaced with sports boosters.
The district has avoided cutting any sports programs because of the possibility that students might use school of choice to play their sport elsewhere.
About 65 percent of students at the high school play one or more sports.
“If anything, we have gained students moving into the district because we have great facilities, and good programs,” Freeman said. “Any cuts that would be substantial would have to be weighed with how many students would leave.”
There is an athletic registration fee of $180 for one student to play sports for a year and $360 for two or more. However, students who cannot afford the fee get a scholarship, said Freeman.
Sports are also important to encourage students to do well in school. Freeman said that athletes are better students because their time is regulated and they stay out of trouble and do well in classes so they can play.