WALLED LAKE, Mich. - The middle schoolers in the Walled Lake school district are gearing up for their football season, but they almost didn't get a chance to play.
Like most districts in the state, Walled Lake had a budget deficit this year and they had to prioritize the classroom over athletics.
"The district was looking at a $5 million deficit this year," said Athletic Director Brian Swinehart. "It's tough for me to say since I know the importance of athletics, but they had tough decisions to make, so the district voted to eliminate middle school football for the 2014-2015 season."
The move saves the district about $40,000 dollars. Plus, Swinehart said, there are a lot of community football teams the kids could play on if they wanted to.
But, parents and the players weren't ready to allow the school programs to die, so they came up with a Hail Mary plan.
"Working together with the parents, the main office gave us the chance to raise the funds," said Ginger Kennedy, president of the Walled Lake Middle School Football Booster Club.
The coaches of the four middle school teams offered to forego their salaries to save the season. Now, through fundraising, the parents are trying to raise the funds to pay them back.
The booster clubs needs to raise $24,000. So far, they've raised $4,000. It's turned into a second job for some of these parents, but they say it's worth it.
"It gives the kids a purpose outside of school, to work as a team," said Randy Moore, a parent.
In these tough budget times, these parents called an audible hoping it will pay off for their kids. The group has until Nov. 1 to raise all the money they need.
To help, email Ginger Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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