Here’s why Osceola County School District will cancel several sports programs next year – WFTV

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – With school winding down for the summer, the Osceola County School District plans to end many sports at all middle and elementary schools.

Beginning with the 2024-2025 school year, the Osceola School District has decided to cancel three middle school sports (wrestling, softball, and golf), elementary school golf, and championships for all elementary school sports.

The district said the decisions were made after reviewing school budgets, the availability of facilities and coaches, and low participation numbers, which parents in the district disagree with.

“I think it should have at least been voted on, and they also say it’s due to lack of funding. Let’s see the proof,” said Nathan Bastos, father of an Osceola School District wrestler.

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Bastos told Eyewitness News that he attended all of his daughter’s wrestling matches. She wrestles for Neptune Middle School and recently took first place in the weight division.

He said the plan was to continue sports through seventh grade and move on to high school.

“She is devastated, thinking about scholarships, and has already set her mind on the right path, and it is sad to see her dreams shattered,” Bastos said.

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Bastos and other parents said there should have been a vote with parents’ input before the decision.

Parents plan to voice their concerns at the next Osceola School Board meeting on June 11.

School board leaders took to social media and made it clear that the board was not behind the decision.

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The Osceola School District also posted on social media:

“Rest assured this decision was not made lightly. We understand the important role that sports and physical activities play in the development and well-being of our students. We are committed to continuing to offer seven additional middle school sports (cross country, soccer, volleyball, basketball, competitive cheer, track and field) Track and Field, Flag Football), three elementary school sports (co-ed cross country, co-ed soccer, and co-ed track and field), and a wide range of extracurricular activities to keep our students engaged in physical activities. We encourage our students to participate in athletics and remaining extracurricular activities We will work to enhance these programs to accommodate the growing interest.

Eyewitness News reached out to the district to find out last year’s participation numbers compared to this year, a look at the budget compared to last year, and who decided to cut sports.

The district has not yet responded.

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