Trojan Booster Club provides athletic transportation funding
In the face of a budget crunch, Charleston High School made a difficult decision: cutting transportation funding for their athletic programs.
In response, the Trojan Booster Club decided to cover the funding needed for this school year.
"After numerous discussions with our board and the district administration, we all felt that this was the largest need for our sports programs to keep our children safe and to maintain the team atmosphere with athletes traveling together and also with their coaches," Kim Sherwood, president of the Trojan Booster Club, recently told the East Central Reporter.
On March 9, the Illinois' budget crunch trickled down to the Charleston school district, leading to a $1.4 million shortfall for the 2016-2017 school year. It was proposed to cut funding for sports and extracurricular transportation, and after a lengthy discussion, the measure passed unanimously. Both Charleston High School and Charleston Middle School had to find new ways to fund that transportation.
This led to various meetings in the community, mainly including Charleston High School Athletic Director Jim Wood and some of the members of the Trojan Booster Club. Over several months they met, trying to find a solution. The Booster Club decided, after having already donated $50,000 in March to the two schools, to cover the total $65,000 cost of travel for athletic events for the entire 2016-17 school year.
Sherwood said the organization is using a variety of methods to cover the unexpected cost.
"Luckily, our board and community have participated in some very successful fundraisers for the programs, so we had the means to provide transportation for this year and to also continue to help with some requests that will come our way," Sherwood said.
Some would question this organization providing money to cover a need for athletics when the schools are facing deficits across the board. But Sherwood said it's very important for students to have full access to sports.
"We feel strongly that for many children, sports are a vital part of the learning process along the way," she said. "The guidance of coaches, teammates and their families along with student-athlete responsibility with academics and prioritizing time are all part of this process to become successful people and to contribute to their community later in life."