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LCSD1 approves annual budget, including cuts to elementary sports funding

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 7:20 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - The Laramie County School District 1 Board of Trustees met on Monday night. A main focus of the meeting was approving the 2021-2022 annual budget. One of the cuts it made was to elementary school sports, which has caused concern in local parents.

“We’ve been reviewing the budget over and over again for the last couple of years and the legislature has been able to table a lot of the impacts but they still are there. The district went out to the community and asked what were the areas of interest. If something had to be cut, what would that look like, and we tried as much as possible and we’re very lucky to stay within those. The elementary activity piece, student activities was one of those areas that was preferable to be cut, certainly an incredibly hard decision,” said LCSD1 Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Margaret Crespo.

The decision was finalized during the meeting on Monday, across social media on Tuesday, parents have been voicing their disapproval.

“It’s been very heartbreaking. I told my son, who’s going to be a fourth grader, that he couldn’t do sports this year and he literally cried. So after a tumultuous year of this past year, of being isolated, and then have this ripped away from him, it’s devastation after a devastation,” said Rhianna Brand, who has three children in LCSD1 schools, two who are in elementary school.

Brand believes these programs are vital as kids learn and grow.

“Volleyball, basketball, football, all of these you are working together as a team. There are some social aspects that our children are going to be lacking. ...the elementary school sports activities were very important. They keep our children out of trouble, they build long lasting relationships.”

Dr. Crespo said she understands the impact this decision has, but said with continued spending cuts, a decision had to be made.

“Our absolute responsibility is to be fiscally responsible, and we recognize that as much as possible we keep that away from the students, and we tried to make sure that it doesn’t impact them but at some point when you continue to have to reduce that spending, it will impact the students right? That is the business.”

Dr. Crespo said though the programs are being cut, LCSD1 is actively working with the City of Cheyenne’s Recreation Department to create future opportunities for students.

Brand is a single mother. She said, even with activities potentially being offered through the Recreation Department, she will probably not be able to get her kids to the activities. LCSD1′s decision to cut the sports program, has also led her to begin looking at schools in Northern Colorado that do have elementary sports programs available.

Brand hopes she and other parents can continue working with LCSD1 to find a way they might be able to find a solution.

Wyoming News Now will continue to follow up on this story throughout the week. For more information on the budget, you can find it here.

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