In the wake of a failed budget referendum, Hinsdale Central and South high schools in the western suburubs of Chicago have officially cut not only their boys and girls swimming and water polo teams, they’ve also eliminated their football programs.
The moves are part of a nearly $3.7 million budget reduction, according to The Chicago Tribune. The district originally sought to cut at least $2.1 million from its budget for the 2019-2020 school year to fund about $46 million in facility improvements. But the school board wound up approving even more in cuts. “$2.1 million is too small a target for us,” said one board member in the Tribune piece.
The cuts come after local voters rejected a $166 million budget referendum in November.
The district did put a smaller, $130 million referendum on an April 2 ballot. While some board members said they expected the athletic programs to be reinstated if the referendum passes, one board member told the Tribune residents shouldn’t assume the cuts would be reversed even if the referendum passes. The April 2 referendum would provide new six-lane, 25-yard swimming pools at both Central and South high schools, but the Tribune story also notes that the $39 million proposed to build the pools in the last referendum was a reason some voted against the referendum, according to board members.
One board member also disagreed with building equal pools at both facilities, hoping for 8 lanes and 40 yards at Central because Central has about 1300 more students than its counterpart.
The Tribune report says the district already approved salary freezes and staff reductions, and includes some specific numbers on how much the district will save by cutting its athletic programs. The football program is the most expensive sport to operate at either high school, costing $129,705 for a 179-person team at Central and $145,817 for a 101-person team at South.
The total savings from all the athletic cuts – which include football, swimming, water polo, cheerleading and bass fishing – would be $789,000.