After District announces cuts, donations pour in
By Selim Jones, Cindy Ho, DaYi Huang, Isaac Mohammed, and Christine Nguyen
On Thursday, August 23, the Oakland Athletic League held a meeting that Stephen Spinola, Oakland High athletic director, described as “principals only” at Westlake Middle School. When that meeting finished up, the OAL announced drastic cuts for the upcoming 2018-2019 OAL sports season. The OAL announced that ten of twenty OAL sports teams would be eliminated, including swimming, tennis, and volleyball.
This story started out as another sad tale of Oakland’s budget problems, but then Oakland’s community stepped up. The Raiders were among many donors to help save the sports teams, including former 49ers kicker Doug Brien. There were also multiple donations from anonymous sources.
“It’s absolutely selfless,” said Spinola. “That these organizations would think of us before themselves.”
Many students were upset to hear about the budget cuts. For some people, sports aren’t just fun and games. Scholarships could have been on the line if the cuts had gone through.
“This is something no one here in the OUSD wants to do,” said district spokesman John Sasaki. “We know very well the value of sports in many of our students’ lives.”
Before the donations came through, the OAL was considering backing off from the cuts. The OAL took some heat when it was revealed that the cuts would affect twice as many female athletes as male athletes. Fortunately, the donations were made so the OAL will avoid further backlash for now.
Unfortunately, these generous donations won’t help past this year. The generous donations were enough to save the sports teams for this year, not permanently. For now though, the Oakland community stepped up in saving our precious sports.
This article was updated on Sept. 14, 2018.