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Connecticut Post: How to fix inequalities in CT high school sports? Administrators pitch their solutions

 -  Alex Putterman, Connecticut Post

In the wake of a recent Hearst Connecticut report on inequality in high school sports, numerous coaches and administrators have acknowledged the wide disparities between rich districts and poor ones as a problem.

As for what might be done about it? Opinions vary.


Another approach — albeit a much more complex and difficult one — could be to address the underlying state- and society-wide disparities that result in some communities (and some people) having far more resources than others.

When it comes to education, the differences from one town to the next are often stark. Weston, for example, spends $24,000 annually per student on education, while Waterbury spends only $16,500.

"When you have a system that allows districts to just be chronically under-resourced ... I'm not surprised that district then does not have the opportunity and the resources to provide extracurricular sports activities for their students," said Lisa Hammersley, executive director of the School and State Finance Project, a Hamden-based nonprofit.

Hammersley advocates for education funding to be more evenly distributed statewide so that a town's property tax base doesn't determine the quality of education there. Equal funding, she says, would go a long way toward closing educational gaps — and possibly athletic ones as well.

"We are failing generations after generations of students, and it is a very strong shortcoming of the state of Connecticut," Hammersley said. "We need to ensure that every student across the state of Connecticut is provided the same opportunity regardless of what municipality they live in."