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Cumberland Board Cuts Sports Programs For Middle Schools

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FAYETTEVILLE — There will be no football or basketball games for some Fayetteville students next year.

The Cumberland County school board decided to cut sports from middle schools because it does not have the money. County commissioners had to slash almost $6 million from the school system's budget.

For seventh-grader Michelle Porter, the decision means a dull year without basketball or football. She says sports teach students a lessons they cannot learn in a classroom.

"They don't want to go back to violence, but they take away our only positive outlet. That's not fair to us or to the community," she says.

According to Fred McDaniel, Cumberland County director of student activities, it costs about $380,000 to fund the middle school athletics program. That number includes coaches' salaries, uniforms and travel.

Coaches receive a salary supplement ranging from $640 for an assistant football coach to $950 for a head basketball or football coach.

During the school year, Calvin Harrington is an assistant basketball coach at a local middle school, but beacuse of the budget cuts, he is now out of a job.

"If there's no middle school coaching, then it's going to be harder on the high school coaches because they have to go back into fundamental coaching," he says.

The school system suggested an intramural sports program, but many coaches and students say that will not take the place of traditional sports teams.


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