Parents are demanding answers from the San Diego Unified School District over the future of high school sports. Word is the district is considering slashing money for athletics, and parents and students want to know if it's true.
SDUSD is considering eliminating athletic programs at all of its high schools in an effort to close the gap on a $180 million shortfall. Administrators estimate the cut could save up to $3.2 million.
"We're very, very committed to not trying to totally eliminate anything, but in the end we may have to. Right now our focus is to keep trimming around the edges, and we want to make sure we have a strong school," school board president Sheila Jackson said.
Parents like Jamie Szabo are furious. Her daughter Haley plays softball and is a cheerleader at Patrick Henry High School. She believes her success on the field directly translates to her accomplishments in the classroom.
"It's more than just playing a game. Team sports involves teamwork, leadership skills, honesty, integrity, playing by the rules," she said.
Jeff Katz's daughter Kaylena is on the soccer and cross-country teams. He believes the lessons she's learned from sports can't be found in any textbook.
"I think it really has helped her with her self-confidence and interaction with other people, feeling better about herself, and in what's happening in and out of the classroom," Katz said.
While the count may be 0-2, parents say the game isn't over yet, arguing our future leaders depend on their fighting spirit.
"These kids are going to be hopefully governors, state legislators, lawyers, doctors. This is our future. We've got to stop penalizing them because we've gotten ourselves into a little bit of a financial hardship," Szabo said.
Eliminating sports is just one option the district is considering. Officials are also looking at closing seven elementary schools, increasing class sizes and could issue even more pink slips.