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Keeping kids at play

Wooden baseball bats — $30 each.

Set of catcher’s equipment — $250 per season.

Replacement helmets — $150 to $170 each.

Baseballs — $300 to $500 per season.

Playing on a junior high or high school sports team — priceless.

Central Kitsap School District coaches and administrators are counting on the community to continue supporting the achievement of the last line of this calculation. They are positive voters will renew the School Support Levy with the necessary minimum of 60 percent approval.

“As a head coach I have real confidence in our community that they will pass this,” said Nate Andrews, baseball coach at Olympic High School.

CKSD’s athletic coordinator Mike Acres agrees.

“We’re staying on the positive side,” he said. “The community’s been very good about supporting us.”

Acres, a former basketball coach at Central Kitsap High School, who helped out when the Cougars had a slowpitch team, has been with the district for 25 years and appreciates the importance of sports in students’ lives. As a former CKHS athletic director and activities coordinator, and the current district athletic coordinator, he also knows how the budget-end of the programs works.

He says CKSD schools are fortunate to operate sports programs without user fees — where athletes pay a flat fee per sport, per season they participate in.

Sports funds for local schools are part of the co-curricular activities budget, which is mainly funded on levy money, Acres explained.

The activities budget pot funds sports as well as drama, band and other after-school activities. One of the largest chunks of expenses is stipends for coaches and other support staff. Transportation costs to and from sporting events and academic competitions such as Knowledge Bowl or debate, are an absorbent amount of the budget.

Money from the activities budget also is allocated to each athletic program and utilized for equipment upkeep, uniforms and other miscellaneous expenses.

Ultimately the funds support the programs and those are indispensable for participants.

“I consider athletics an extension of the classroom,” said Brad Hamblet, science teacher who coaches football and wrestling at Klahowya Secondary School. “It’s for those who have (an athletic) talent but also it’s an educational experience, it’s a chance for (students) to learn about themselves and learn how to work with other people.”

Expenses related to transportation, coaches, umpires, linesmen, fields and other venues, come out of the district’s general activities budget pot.

“The portion that (KSS) has for (transportation) doesn’t always cover the cost but there’s always rollover money,” Acres said.

For instance, some years, the Eagles football squad travels to Orting and Eatonville for games, and other years it does not, evening out bus-fees.

Because KSS teams travel further to face off with opponents, their share of travel funds is larger than CKHS or OHS. But also, because KSS enrolls students from seventh- through 12th-grade, it saves the district on stipends when coaches double-up for the junior and high school league.

Each program, however, has about the same overall expenses,

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