Sumner County Budget Battle Could Impact Athletics
By Emily Luxen
SUMNER COUNTY, Tenn.---The ongoing budget battle between Sumner County
commissioners and Board of Education members has some student-athletes
wondering if they will be stuck on the sidelines.
Even though schools remain closed, Sumner County teams can practice, but
they can't play in official games. TSSAA officials say if after 20 days,
there is still no budget resolution, then all athletic programs will be shut
down. Parents said that could have a big impact on many families.
"We have a lot of seniors at Portland High School this year who have
scholarships on the line," said parent Wendy Hardy. "If we don't get
our kids back in school, and if we can't play ball, they won't get their
"They've worked all summer for this," said parent April Sherbeyn.
"Knowing they may not be able to play their first game has been
Friday night, the Portland and Westmoreland football teams participated
in a jamboree at Portland East Middle School. Several parents noticed the
enthusiasm wasn't up to standards set in year's past.
"There aren't as many people here," said parent Lana Holmes.
"There aren't as many people here. Everyone is just sitting and
watching. There isn't much you can do right now."
Sumner County schools were supposed to open August 6, but a dispute over the
budget forced school members to delay the start of school. Originally,
board members asked commissioners for an additional $6.7 million to cover
increasing costs associated with a growing district. On Monday night,
county commissioners countered with a one-time offer of $2.2 million.
Wednesday night, board members approved Director of Schools Dr. Del Phillips
revised budget that included additional cuts. They are now asking
commissioners for an additional $2.8 million.
Commissioners will discuss the budget again at a specially called a meeting
for Monday at 7 p.m. School officials said if the budget passes, schools
could open as early as August 15.