LI school sports programs slashed by budget cuts

SEAFORD - Students are learning a tough lesson on economics this year.Sports programs at both Seaford and East Islip middle schools are being slashed by budget cuts, and the districts are taking very different approaches when it comes to trying to restore them. Last year, Seaford Middle School students were able to play sports after the community raised more than $100,000 to make up for the budget shortfall, but this year they're $20,000 short of their goal.In East Islip, discouraged parents are looking into ways to set up a "pay-to-play" athletic program, but state rules may not permit it. The Department of Education has said that's not an option in New York, despite the fact that two-thirds of states throughout the country allow some type of pay-to-play option.East Islip parents have asked the school board to look for ways to implement a pay-to-play program without breaking state rules. Meanwhile in Seaford, students are hoping that generous neighbors will come up with $20,000 by Monday, the deadline for saving the season.

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