TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Toledo Public Schools board members voted unanimously Monday morning to bring back several junior varsity and freshman sports. TPS originally eliminated the sports two years ago when the district had to make about $40 million in budget cuts.
Mara Momenee, a junior at Bowsher High School, was determined to bring the sports back. The varsity soccer player spoke at a few board meetings and eventually became the student representative for the board committee addressing the issue.
"It has totally shaped my high school career and my character. I don't think I'd be who I am today if it weren't for my sport," Momenee said. "Not everyone is a varsity player, so having this feeder program just gives everyone a chance to be part of a team."
Despite a previous rejection, the board voted Monday to bring back freshman football, freshman basketball, freshman volleyball, JV soccer and seventh and eighth grade wrestling.
"I'm so happy that I've been able to stick up for my team and all TPS athletes," Momenee said.
TPS official said bringing back sports became a possibility when they got EdChoice numbers back, the number of students leaving the district for private education.
"In this case, we had a decline in that, so the district is seeing increased revenue because those dollars were budgeted, and we have moved forward in terms of reinstating these sports," said Jim Gault, Chief Academic Officer.
The sports have now been built into the budget. Board president Lisa Sobecki said it is important they stay there.
"They help with academics because if you're not achieving on the academics side, you're not able to participate," Sobecki said. "It helps with discipline. It gives students an outlet."