Coaches: RPS funding increase for athletics is a 'game changer'

Coaches: RPS funding increase for athletics is a 'game changer'
Richmond Public Schools is doubling funding for athletics.

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond schools are celebrating a big win after the school board adopted a budget which doubles the amount of money athletic programs will receive next school year.

Coaches say this new budget is a big game changer, both on and off the field.

For years, Richmond Public Schools have been lacking necessary funding when it comes to athletics.

"Our athletes can't compete if our equipment is not up to standard," said Richmond School Board Chair Dawn Page.

All that may change come next school year. Monday, the Richmond City School Board adopted a budget which doubles the current athletic budget from $250,000 to $500,000.

"When I hear that, I hear hip-hip-hooray," said Maurice Tyler with Coaches Against Violence Everywhere (CAVE).

Tyler is calling this new funding a major score for athletics.

"It's very needed...I think it's activities that's going to help keep kids engaged and give them excitement to come to school," said Tyler.

"Now those kids in the city, they won't have to say 'those kids have the nice uniforms' or 'they have this nice equipment to train on'...they'll be able to have the same things and just have an equal playing field," said recreational football coach Linwood Johnson.

This new budget is going to provide extra money for personnel, improved facilities and equipment for student athletes. Coaches also say it's going to change the game even further in the classroom.

"Athletics gives the opportunity to extend your education," said Page.

"It's giving those kids something to strive for in the schools, so if they know that they have to have their grades right to play football, then they're going to be doing their homework and studying and do everything they have to do to be that great student and athlete," said Johnson.

Page says this new funding gives students more incentive to stay in the city's schools and not search for better athletic and academic opportunities elsewhere.

"It levels the playing field, because if the resources are not there, we are not preparing our student athletes to compete. We're setting them up to fail, and failure is not an option," said Page.

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