NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

April 8, 2014

As budget shrinks, Boosters try to fill in gaps

AMESBURY — Now that the high school’s music and performing arts programs have been saved for another year, school officials are turning their full attention to the athletic department, as Assistant Superintendent Deirdre Farrell and athletic director Glenn Gearin need to cut $10,000 from that budget.

Although the athletic department has different sources of revenue other than just town funds, as the president of the All Sports Boosters Sam Wilmot says, the money his organization raises is not limitless.

“One of the problems people have had in the past is, if we start doing this, are people always going to count on us?” Wilmot said. “If we take this out of the budget, are the Boosters always going to be there? That is not always automatic. We are not always going to say yes. There are some things we have said no to in the past. If we think it is a little too much, we are going to say no. It’s not trying to hurt anyone.”

The Boosters formed in the 1970s and, as a member of the Class of 1977, Wilmot received his varsity football sweater from them, as well as his two-year jacket. And while they still provide the varsity letters and (now) sweatshirts, over the past five years, the Boosters’ role in Amesbury has grown at an almost exponential rate.

“This (school) year we have spent close to $22-24,000,” Wilmot said. “In this past year alone, we gave $3,500 toward football pants. We bought a new javelin, we bought the high jump mats for the track team. We kicked in $3,500 for that. In the past, we have never paid for equipment, but there is no money in the budget, so it comes out of us out of necessity. The MIAA changed their rules for baseball twice over the past two years. Aluminum bats are very expensive and then you have bats that you don’t use anymore.”

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