School Budget Crunch in New Mexico Revels Folly in National Women’s Law Center’s Title IX Plan

On the day that the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) announced their nationwide Title IX initiative, I dialed into their conference call to listen in on the particulars of their announcement. One question that seemed to be on the minds of the reporters on the call was this: with so many school districts slashing their budgets, where did the NWLC expect schools to get the additional funds to add new sports for high school girls?

It’s a fair question, but one that the folks assembled on the call didn’t seem to think was a very big deal. But today, I saw this news out of New Mexico that ought to demonstrate just how tight things really are out there for schools these days:

With Santa Fe Public Schools facing a large budget shortfall, the issue of how it will affect athletics is beginning to percolate.

Cuts to next year’s school budget are projected to be around $13 million, and SFPS athletic director Skip Hemperley said the district could severely reduce his budget — or possibly eliminate the department.

Hemperley emphasized that all options are being considered.

“As it was explained at a meeting in the fall, everything is on the table,” Hemperley said. “So it’s a true aspect that they will take look at it (eliminating athletics). So, it’s possible.”

The athletic department budget for the 2010-11 school year is $999,999, which is less than the $1.3 million allocated for 2009-10 and $1.8 million in 2008-09.

Unreal. With so many schools struggling, the NWLC proposal is incredibly irresponsible. Then again, it ought to be clear that they don’t care, as they’re probably counting on a big pay day from suing school districts that don’t respond to their public shakedown.

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