COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) ─ The Coventry School Committee voted Thursday night to reinstate five fall sports.
The unanimous vote approved funding for boys and girls cross country, boys and girls soccer and girls tennis.
Football and girls volleyball were moved to a new season that will take place between the winter and spring sports seasons.
This comes as the district faces a $1.8 million shortfall in this year’s budget.
Committee Chairwoman Katherine Patenaude warned that by reinstating sports, they are deficit spending, which could have major consequences come spring.
“I’m willing to take the chance and throw the dice and hope that the [Coventry] Town Council, in fact, puts forward a new proposal for this community that will tax our citizens and give us the $1.8 million,” Patenaude said.
Committee member Lucas Murray said that while deciding what cuts need to be made is a balancing act, sports, among other school programs, impact not only a student’s overall experience, but the town as a whole.
“There’s plenty of things we can we can potentially cut,” Murray said. “We choose not to because beyond the basic education plan, all of these things are important.”
He explained that if students don’t have the opportunity to participate in sports and extracurricular activities, families will begin sending their students to schools outside the district.
“If we are a community that only wants to have low taxes, we can strip this school system down to the nuts and bolts,” Murray said. “But you’re going to have a community of kids attending schools outside of our community. You’re going to have kids going to Ponaganset and Warwick and everywhere else they can find because they don’t want to go to Coventry schools.”
“That’s why we focus on keeping the students here,” he continued. “It’s not only a fiscal responsibility, it’s the right thing to do.”