Buckeye kids need cry no more. They are getting their sports back.
Three days after the school board voted 3-2 to not accept a proposal that would have used private donations, pay-to-participate fees and gate revenue to fund athletics for the district in Medina County, the board voted 4-1 to accept a revised proposal Friday afternoon.
There were two main keys to the revision: one, the amount of the initial fund balance was upped, and two, the Buckeye athletic and band boosters must secure a "contingency pledge." All money is due by July 15.
The plan that was rejected Tuesday included a $50,000 initial fund balance from private donations, which would be placed in a separate district account. Friday's revision upped that to $60,000. In addition, a contingency pledge of $25,000 is due at the same time.
The $25,000 will be used as an insurance policy in case athletic participation and gate revenues fall below expectations.
Athletics won't come cheap for the students and their parents. The pay-to-participate fees are $365 per sport.
The district's money-movers spent days re-hashing the proposal, trying to make it work. Eventually, they came to a middle ground with the boosters. Varsity, junior varsity and eighth grade sports will proceed next school year. Seventh and ninth grade sports are still on ice, but those kids (if they're good enough) can participate on the other levels.
It's a bandage. It's a compromise. It is a stopgap until a levy passes or the state of Ohio drastically changes school funding (I'm betting on the former happening before the latter). But, like on Tuesday, the speeches and spreadsheets of the adult world aren't the real story here. Kids, and the sports teams they love, are.
Financial caution prevailed Tuesday. The kids prevailed Friday. Many juniors and seniors got to hear the news as they arrived at prom in the evening, an especially sweet cap to the school year.
It will be even sweeter when the football team pulls on their pads for two-a-days in August. Never will slogging through tackling drills in 90-degree heat have felt so good.