Baseball, Softball Back at Middle Schools
Fundraising efforts by Project 106 for Riverside Middle School and the Martin Middle School Athletics Booster Club have saved the four teams.
Private donations are saving the baseball and softball teams at East Providence's middle schools.
Interim Superintendent John DeGoes told the School Committee last Tuesday night that the four teams will play again this spring -- thanks to the fundraising efforts of Project 106 and the Martin Middle School Athletic Boosters Club and an agreement by coaches to volunteer their time.
The budgets for middle school sports had been eliminated by the East Providence Budget Commission.
"They will be completing sign-ups tomorrow," DeGoes said on Thursday. "Details for transportation and the logistics for paying umpires were worked out this week."
"It's an amazing feeling," said Jessica Beauchaine, chair of Project 106. "This has all happened within the past two weeks."
Beauchaine said that the two fundraising groups are collaborting to fund the sports at both middle schools while also making sure that the coaches are certified and "everything that the school department did we're doing now."
The teams will operate similar to club teams but play against other middle schools, she said, with the approval of the RI Principals Committee on Athletics (RIPCOA).
The estimated costs for each school for the bus transportation is about $3,200, according to Kevin Oliver, vice president of the Martin booster club.
"These coaches approached us with a plan and they were ready to go," he said.
"We're hoping that this is the start of a process for renewing all the middle school sports starting next fall," said DeGoes.
"This is just a beginning," said Beauchaine. "We're taking it one season as a time."
The total price tag of all the middle school sports when they were cut by the budget board was $106,000.