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Councilor-at-Large Khrystian E. King has called on city and public school officials to work on re-establishing a citywide middle school youth sports program, starting with the upcoming academic year.
Mr. King said he hopes the programs can be re-established with funding from outside the public school budget.
He said the city's middle schools had basketball teams three or four years ago, but they are now intramural programs.
Before Proposition 2½ in the early 1980s, the then junior high schools (Grades 7-9) had football, basketball and baseball teams, and there was an annual outdoor track competition in the spring.
But they were eliminated for the most part when Proposition 2½ led to major budget cuts.
Mr. King said there is no reason why Worcester's middle schools cannot compete with the middle schools in the surrounding towns, many of which offer a wide variety of team sports for their students.
He said he would like to see city and public school officials pursue some kind of public-private partnership in the community to come up with the funding for these programs.
Mr. King said the re-introduction of team sports at the middle school level, for both boys and girls, would provide health benefits to students, as well as teach them many important life lessons.
Among some of the sports he suggested be considered include cross country, track and field, volleyball, basketball, soccer, field hockey, lacrosse and crew. He said the hope is to be able to offer a couple of sports per season - fall, winter and spring.
Mr. King said there is great importance to youth sports and having kids play on a team.
"The teamwork lesson is irreplaceable," he said.
-Contact Nick Kotsopoulos at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow him on Twitter @NCKotsopoulos
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