Facing a $1.8 million deficit, the Mansfield school committee voted Tuesday night to eliminate all after-school activities, including all athletics, according to newly crowned athletic director Joe Russo.
“Essentially, they did this because the school system is $1.8 million from being in a balanced budget,” said Russo, who was named the school’s athletic director last night at the same meeting after serving as an interim athletic director following the reassignment of Patrick Burns last summer.
The sports cuts alone are expected to save the school about $643,000. Russo said he hoped the cuts would be temporary, saying the school, “Would want to reinstate everything eventually.”
The school committee is seeking to pass a property tax increase proposal –– Proposition 2 1/2 override –– to help balance the budget without cutting after-school activities.
If the cuts are made, Russo, who was previously a physical education teacher and the department chair for the physical education department, would fall back into his old role.
A meeting has been set for 7 p.m. today at the Mansfield High School auditorium for area residents to meet with the school committee, finance committee, and selectman to discuss the issue.
As of Wednesday morning, Russo said he hadn’t heard too many complaints from those in the area, but said he expects there will be a response from the community.
“I got to work at 7 this morning and have been in my office getting ready for today’s games, so I haven’t heard much from the community,” Russo said. “I’m sure once I’m out at the games today, I’ll hear from a few people.”
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