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Request for contribution from LAUSD athletes is withdrawn

Voluntary $24 contributions had been sought to offset cut in transportation funding. Instead, Supt. Ramon C. Cortines asks for 'other financial options.'

July 29, 2010|Eric Sondheimer

Just days after the Los Angeles Unified School District authorized sports teams to collect a $24 voluntary contribution from students to help pay for a $650,000 cut in transportation funding, Supt. Ramon C. Cortines announced Thursday that he had rescinded the request.

Cortines said in a statement, "Although this district is in a financial crisis, I am asking for other financial options to cover the $650,000 needed for the district's athletics transportation budget."

District spokesman Robert Alaniz said Cortines had been unaware of the request for $24 and was concerned that those who could not afford to contribute would be singled out.

"He didn't want that stigma attached to kids," Alaniz said.

The request was called a contribution, not a fee, by the district, and students who chose not to contribute could still have played for sports teams.

Cortines' decision to intervene and seek other alternatives drew support from coaches and athletic administrators.

"It's nice they are exhausting other resources to figure out this deficit," said Vinnie Orlando, associate athletic director at Woodland Hills El Camino Real.

Individual sports schedules have already been reduced to save transportation costs. And additional cuts could be needed because new schools are opening, adding to costs.

Many Southern California districts charge transportation fees for athletes.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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