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High School Athletics Comes to End in One Area

May 20, 2011
Hoke County High School

Utica High School sports to end in August

  • By Bill DavisMount Vernon News
  • UTICA - The ballgames in Utica may be coming to an end.

    Drastic cuts have forced the North Fork School District to slash all extracirricular activities - including all interscholastic sports.

    The move takes effect for the 2011-12 school year, meaning there could be no football, volleyball or cross country this fall.

    "That's what we're looking at," said North Fork School Board President Bernie Snow. "The failure of the levy has put us in this position."

    The most recent school levy, which was voted down earlier this month, would have saved most extracirricular activities. But its failure means there is no longer any money to support athletic endeavors.

    The council did not completely close the book on the school year, however. The members are open to the possibility of the money being raised from pay-to-play, as well as donations.

    A group of boosters will decide in the coming weeks how possible it is to raise the funds necessary to save some sports.

    "They'll issue a recommendation," said Snow. "We will then determine if we can continue with those efforts."

    The board expects it will take about $350,000 to continue extracirricular activities for the coming school year. Although the board brought up the idea that it was an "all or nothing" proposal - meaning all the money must be there or no extracurricular activities will exist - Snow says some concessions could be made.

    "We'll assess where we are in July," Snow said. "If we don't have the full amount, but we determine that we have enough to continue some programs, then we'll decide what to cut and what to bring back."

    This isn't the first time the school board has made this move. In 2006, when the district failed to pass a 1-percent income tax hike, the board cut all extracirriculars pending a move by boosters. The boosters ended up raising nearly $200,000 from a $500-per-ticket raffle, enough to save sports for the time being. The tax levy did finally pass the following February.

    Snow does not think the boosters will try such a move this time.

    "Right now, I don't know what plans they have," Snow said.

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