OSWEGO, NY – Maybe it’s not first-and-goal for the drive to restore sports in the Oswego City School District, but the effort received a huge boost Tuesday from Senator Patty Ritchie.
Ritchie announced a $150,000 special grant to help rescue the sports programs that were slashed by the district in the budget process.
David Gryczka, Director of P.E. and Athletics, updated the school board Tuesday night regarding the fundraising under way to help restore the sports programs.
He thanked Senator Ritchie for her support, calling it “A win for the Bucs today.”
“We’re absolutely thrilled,” added board president Kathleen Allen.
Gryczka said they were looking for the best way to allocate the funds.
The first thing to bring back would be the last round of modified (sports) cut the board made, he said.
That would include boys’ and girls’ modified soccer, girls’ modified volleyball, modified cross-country for boy and girls, boys’ and girls’ basketball, modified baseball, modified softball, boys’ and girls’ modified lacrosse and boys’ and girls’ modified track, he told the board.
Those sports total $117,494.
They are also exploring bringing back girls’ modified swimming, modified football, modified wrestling and boys’ modified swimming – for a total of $56,075.
Also under consideration is indoor track, for boys and girls, at about $21,280.
“With the $150,000 that was so generously secured and a reallocation of the middle school intramural money that we’ve been talking about, I think we’ll be able to bring back all of these,” Gryczka said.
It’s important to bring back modified wrestling and boys’ swimming, because without doing that, there aren’t opportunities for boys at the middle school level, he explained.
The modified sports, like football, help make the varsity programs sustainable, he added.
Football is easily the most expensive sport they do, Gryczka told the board. At present, due to the budget cut, Oswego doesn’t have a varsity football head coach, he said.
“The sooner we can get (funds) into place, the better off we’ll be (for fall modified sports) as far as getting information out to the students. We can set up different days to have physicals for kids,” Gryczka said.
Modified football would start Aug. 29 and the other modified sports starting Sept. 6, he said.
For the winter sports season, they should be in pretty good shape, he said.
Supporters of Oswego school sports are continuing to raise funds in an effort to restore everything that was cut. Costs to attend the events has been discussed. Increasing the cost for students to five dollars “would have a severe impact on attendance by students,” Gryczka said. Other districts charge students a dollar, two in some cases, he said.
“I want to say to everyone here, this is a one-year deal. We can’t count on Senator Ritchie coming through with $150 thousand every year,” board member Tom DeCastro pointed out. “We got to figure out a way, after we reinstate for the year, being able to support that into the future.”
A representative from Senator Ritchie’s office pointed out that it was the senator’s intention that the $150,000 be used to benefit all sports.
“The financial need to reinstate everything from modified to varsity is so large that the district has to prioritize and has been pretty transparent about what their wishes might be,” Dr. Dean Goewey, superintendent, said. “The board’s responsibility, the district’s responsibility is to reinstate programs for kids that serve the greater good of our district.”
The board took no action on reinstating any of the sports programs Tuesday.
Following further discussion with the Buc Boosters, Gryczka will present another update to the board.