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Football Program Could Be Cut If Weld RE-8 School District Can't Afford It

FORT LUPTON, Colo. (CBS4) - As the Weld RE-8 school district navigates cutting their budget for the 2022-2023 school year, some fear the district will eliminate athletics from some schools, specifically the football team at Fort Lupton High School.

In a brainstorming school board meeting, one member suggested eliminating the high school's football team as a way to save money, the district confirms. However, Superintendent Alan Kaylor said that was just one of many different ideas that were mentioned during the meeting, and nothing was confirmed or officially cut.

"It really upsets me. I understand it costs money," said Sherry Derbigny, the mother of a football player at the school. "(The board doesn't) consider what it will do to the kids if they cut the program."

FORT LUPTON FOOTBALL TEAM 63PKG.transfer_frame_984
(credit: CBS)

Derbigny said she told her son that football was in jeopardy for his senior season, and asked him if he wanted to transfer schools if the program ended up being cut.

"He really wants to play. This is something that is important to him," Derbigny told CBS4's Dillon Thomas. "That was a concern for me because my son plays football, and that something he really enjoys."

According to one school board member the district is several million dollars in deficit, underscoring why they wanted to make some cuts. However, Kaylor noted the budget for football was a small drop in the bucket compared to the $42 million operating budget the district oversees.

"In Weld-8 the cost of football, just for the expense part, is $39,000 a year," Kaylor said.

The district said a large portion of that $39,000 goes toward paying coaches and staff. A small portion, only a few thousand dollars, actually goes to travel and gear.

Kaylor said he, personally, didn't believe football would be eliminated when the board ultimately addresses the budget later this month. Kaylor said he felt the idea was nothing more than a simple suggestion among many others.

"It was a brainstorm session and that was thrown out during the session. I think that is the extent of it," Kaylor said.

FORT LUPTON FOOTBALL TEAM 63PKG.transfer_frame_700
(credit: CBS)

Kaylor said the district has discussed, throughout the years, possibly making cuts to middle school athletics. He said one factor causing the board to consider eliminating football was the team's lack of success in the past two decades. However, both Derbigny and Kaylor both noted the benefits of high school athletics beyond the final scores of games.

"If you look back 16 or 17 years, they haven't won a lot of games," Kaylor said. "But, athletics is about more than winning or losing, it is about the lessons taught on the field for those athletes."

"For some kids this may be something that is keeping them out of trouble or keeping their grades up," Derbigny said.

Kaylor, a former football coach and player himself, said the district will likely find other places to make ends meet.

"Our dollars are stretched thin, always," Kaylor said. "But, ultimately I think we have done a very nice job at educating our kids which is the first and foremost thing we do in Weld-8."

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