BOARDMAN - Members of the Morrow County School Board and the Morrow County Unified Recreation District held negotiations recently to determine just how much money would be available next year for the county's sports programs.
The general feeling by both sides is that sports programs in Morrow County may have to be cut back on or eliminated completely.
"We know we can no longer fund everything into the future," said Recreation District Chairwoman Cyde Estes.
Morrow County school sports programs are largely supported by money given to the schools by the Recreation District.
However, that money will be divided differently because of the newly formed Ione School District.
It's the intention of the Recreation District to support sports programs from both districts in the county.
"This money belongs to the kids of Morrow County, in no way should it be involved in politics," Estes said.
The dispersal of the money could look something like Ione receiving more than $90,000 for use in its sports programs.
That would leave about $326,000 to be split up between the rest of the county's schools.
The entire school district, which included Ione in last year's budget, went far over the amount that was distributed last year for use in sports activities.
Representatives from the Morrow County School Board said the extra money was needed to cover the cost of programs that lost money because of statewide budget cuts.
Because those extra funds will not be available through the Recreation District for next year, it's unclear how the school district will fund programs at the same level as last year.
Besides less money overall, the board soon will have to come up with a plan that will include the new high school in Irrigon.
The actual amount of money to be dispersed will not be known until after the new year when Morrow County school principals make their reports regarding how much it will cost to fund the same level of sports programs that have been provided for in recent years.
Morrow County School Board Chairman John Renfro remains hopeful that the schools may be able to support the same number of programs with the funds that will be provided, but a substantial loss of revenue may force area schools to consolidate programs or drop them altogether.
Brook Griffin can be reached at 1-800-522-0255 (ext. 1-309) or by e-mail at email@example.com.