Submitted by Centralia School District

Centralia High School will rely on volunteer coaching staff to provide limited varsity sports programs for the 2020-21 school year. The school’s coaching staff and administrators worked together to find a solution to a funding crisis caused by the necessity to presume that levy funding will not be available next year. The failure of the levy election in February means that the school district must proceed with budget planning as though those funds will not be available. A second-attempt levy election is being held on August 4.

Athletics in Centralia are nearly completely funded by the Educational Programs and Operations levy. High school and middle school Associated Student Body (ASB) funds provide secondary support for Centralia School District athletics. This secondary funding helps cover the annual costs associated with officiating, individual sports budgets and other overhead costs. The Centralia School District levy currently pays for all costs associated with coaching salaries, transportation and event workers which accounts for approximately 80% of the overall Centralia School District athletics budget. In 2019-20, Centralia invested over $700,000 into athletics programs.

What does this mean for Centralia School District athletics?

Varsity athletics will be offered at Centralia High School during the 2020-21 school year under the following circumstances;

  • Centralia High School coaches have committed to volunteering for the 2020-21 athletics seasons.
  •  The Centralia High School’s ASB student leadership council agreed to incorporate transportation and event worker costs into its budget for the 2020-21 school year as a one-year solution (ASB does not have annual revenues to support these costs for more than one year).
  • Equipment, uniforms and officials will remain in the Centralia High School ASB budget at a reduced amount.

If the levy passes in August there may be levy dollars available to enhance, expand and build upon the athletics program offerings outlined above. This may include sub varsity programs for some high school sports and middle school athletic programs.

If the levy fails in August Centralia High School will offer a reduced athletics program as outlined above for the 2020-21 school year. Additionally, if the levy fails, Centralia School District will not offer an athletics program for the 2021-22 school year at both Centralia High School and Centralia Middle School.

“We are grateful to Scott Chamberlain and the CHS athletic staff for their work to develop a solution to this challenge,” said Interim Superintendent Kristy Vetter. “Their dedication to their programs and students is indicative of the can-do attitude we are seeing throughout our district as we work to overcome some very serious budget issues. We also want to thank our ASB council for their willingness to jump in help.”

Over the summer, Centralia School District will engage with stakeholder groups to develop priorities regarding program funding in the event that the August 4th election renews Educational Programs and Operations Levy funding for 2020-21. “Because we don’t yet know the outcome of that election, we have to proceed with our budget planning as if we will not have those funds. If the outcome ends up being positive, we want to be sure that we have a plan in place to immediately bring forth amendments to our budget that allow us to restore as much as possible for the benefit of our students,” said Vetter. “Even if the levy is renewed for next year, we are still facing significant budget challenges due to enrollment projections related to the COVID-19 crisis, and other pressures that will negatively impact revenue for several years.”

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