CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. -- Despite some tense, hand-wringing moments this spring, Cambridge Central School will have its full complement of varsity sports reinstated in time for school this fall.
Glens Falls-area state senator Elizabeth Little was able to get the school a one-time state aid grant worth $100,000. The Cambridge Board of Education voted unanimously to use $72,000 of the grant to save the six sports -- golf, boys soccer, volleyball, wrestling, boys lacrosse and track -- that were on the chopping block after funding fell through last spring.
"It was really a case of the squeaky wheel getting the grease," said Cambridge athletic director Deb Lauver. "Our superintendent, Vince Canini, stayed on it and made things happen."
In May, the proposed $14.3 million budget kept only six sports -- football, girls soccer, boys and girls basketball, baseball and softball -- to help close a $1.5 million shortfall. The budget passed by a wide margin and the fight was on to save the other six sports.
The grant came through after the Cambridge Tribesman booster club spent three months trying to raise money. The choice to bring back sports was easy.
"The superintendent said the last thing out would be the first thing back," Lauver said. "The board must have felt the same way with a 5-0 vote."
With the vote, the boys soccer team will be back after a one-year hiatus from the varsity level due to low participation numbers. Lauver said the school plans to have varsity and modified teams this fall.
Little's grant has saved sports at Cambridge, but only for the 2012-13 school year. After that, it might be up to the boosters.
"It's a stopgap measure and we've been very honest with people to tell them that," said booster club president Deb Brownell.
The booster club raised nearly $6,000 in less than three months. That money will go toward the sports programs going forward.
"Instead of having a few months to get the money, we'll have a year-and-a-half," Brownell said.
"We still need to raise money in anticipation of next year's budget -- it could be worse, better or the same. We just don't know," Lauver said. "The booster club has their work cut out for them."
A high percentage of students play a fall sport at Cambridge, a district with less than 300 in the high school grades. Twenty-three are signed up for JV and varsity volleyball, 60 in soccer and another dozen for the golf teams, Lauver said.
"We're happy to keep those kids at Cambridge," Brownell said.
"It's good that we got the sports back because there would have been a lot of kids that wouldn't have been playing anything," Lauver said. "Hopefully we can get everything on the straight and narrow."
The booster club's next fundraising event is a 5K race on Oct. 20.