Indoor track, freshman sports look to be off chopping block

February 25, 2010

Indoor track and freshman sports programs in Carroll County appear to have escaped the budget ax - at least for now.

The county's board of education, which originally had included both among the cuts in its proposed fiscal 2011 budget, amended the budget Wednesday to tentatively spare the programs for another year. The decision, however, might be revisited if further cuts are required this spring.

"We survived the first round of cuts, and it's pretty much a done deal," South Carroll track coach Rob Pennington said. "We had our county meeting [Tuesday] night, and a couple of coaches and our supervisor were saying that pretty much unless something major comes up between now and [the official budget vote], it looks pretty good for us."

To cover the costs, the county plans to raise participation fees for athletes from $80 to $100.

The initial decision to cut the programs, which would save approximately $123,000, sparked outcry from scores of athletes, coaches and parents, who launched online petitions and a Facebook group with more than 1,900 members.

Track athletes have been particularly vocal, packing board of education meetings and wearing black-and-white "Save Carroll County Indoor Track & Field" T-shirts.

"I think we made an impact - we showed them that we actually care," said Jake Baugher, a Westminster High senior who helped lead the effort to save indoor track.

- Rich Scherr

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