Albuquerque Public Schools to cut all middle school sports programs

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - Albuquerque Public Schools calls it a "painful" decision, but says it's necessary.

The district has cut all middle school sports due to budget concerns.

APS doesn't know its final budget for the next school year, as it waits to see how much it will get from the state. But the district says it's out of time and needs to plan for the worst.

That means middle school kids won't be able to play intramural basketball, volleyball and track next year.

Parents say it's devastating.

"It's sad because my daughter is looking forward to playing for Jefferson, tennis and soccer, and she has another year to go to middle school," said Phixay Detvongsa.

The district says plans could change depending on the final budget, but say that shy of a miracle, these cuts will stay.

APS says the reality is that 90 percent of its operating budget is tied up in salaries and benefits, so cuts must come from elsewhere.

Cutting sports will save the district between $500,000 and $750,000 next year.

However, parents say, the value lost is much greater.

"The physical activity is great, but they do learn so much, they learn teamwork, they learn cooperation, and more than that they learn how to take instruction from authority, which they are going to need in jobs. They have to learn to respect their coaches," said Katie Bates, parent.

KRQE News 13 talked to a couple of middle school coaches who didn't want to be identified. They say there are a lot of schools in APS where families can't afford to put their kids in club sports.

They also pointed out, they watch so many of their students work hard on their grades so they can participate in school sports.

APS says this school year was the first time it suffered from mid-year cuts.



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