Although scholastic sports funding should be priority 2 or 3 on the Warren County School Board's list of priorities, the issue garners a significant amount of public attention because of the shear numbers of students who participate.
The number one priority, of course, should be education and the myriad elements of that broad category, including but not limited to curriculum, student services such as tutoring, all-day kindergarten, advanced placement course opportunities and sufficient teaching staff to handle the job.
Nevertheless, sports gets as much or more attention because of its potential for post-secondary scholarships and its contribution to student and community identity.
The school board has before it three options offered by district athletic director Jim Miller in an attempt to continue as much of the current slate of sports as possible, keep taxpayer support of those programs in line with last year and even out the cost to parents and boosters among the four high schools.
At this point, as the board considers, there will no doubt be suspicion on the part of one group or another that it is getting short-changed. In fact, at least one high school athletic director has contended that his programs are already being short-changed and some adjustment to the funding formula needs to be made.
Essentially the school board last year reduced its sports funding and left it up to parents, individual donors and booster groups to make up the difference. Some of those efforts were more successful than others.
If the board shifts funding from those programs which raised more money to programs that raised less it will beg the question of whether or not those successful fundraisers are being penalized.
There are still other options, of course, though some are never mentioned because of the protests that occured last year when they were broached. Chief among them is the consolidation of sports programs among the four high schools. Indeed, because of limited numbers, some consolidation occurs already, and, in the case of Sheffield, Abraxas students round out basketball, football and track and field teams.
However, not wanting to risk another "jersey war," the school board has demurred.
So be it, but let's not let sports funding stand in the way of the top priority.