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Interim superintendent Lynda Reitman recommends not cutting Torrington HS spring sports. Well done.

POSTED March 17, 2016
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON- In the end, the students at Torrington High School did what they always do; they won.

Your spring sports season is safe. Get you gloves, cleats, rackets and clubs ready, you will have a spring season.

Torrington interim superintendent, Lynda Reitman needed to fill a huge budget gap in a big hurry but decided not to recommend that the sports program be part of the cuts.

After careful consideration, Reitman and her team looked at everything that was on the table and came out in favor of the athletes.

“I understand that sports play a major role in motivating our students.” Reitman said. “It is not in our student’s best interest to cut them.”

It wasn’t an easy job, trimming what amounts to now over 1.1 million dollars but the interim super felt it would not have been a worth-while move for the high school.

“We looked at spring sports.” Reitman said. “That would be a savings of $131,238 dollars. However, after we did our investigation and looked at everything, we did not feel at this time that we could put it on our recommended list. We felt it would be a detriment to the students.”

The high school media center was filled to the allowed amount of 75 people, with almost that many waiting to get in down the halls.

It was a tremendous job by the community and showed that the passion that folks hold for sports will always be a driving force.

“The major driver is what’s best for the kids.” Reitman said. “So when we made our recommendations, we made them with what we felt was in the best interest of the students of Torrington.”

The Raiders athletic department did chip in to help and it was appreciated.

“Coach McKenna has agreed to take care of the transportation out of the student activity fund.” Reitman said. “That’s a $30,000 dollar savings so we are very grateful to Mike McKenna for supporting us in this endeavor.”

Torrington did not want to make the statewide newscasts for the absolute wrong reason and cutting a season of sports would have brought all the wrong attention to a school trying to continue building on its positive attributes.

A large email campaign appeared to be a motivating force in letting the Board of Education, who eventually will have to make sure the budget deficit is taken care of, know that cutting athletics was not something the Torrington community was willing to accept.

Well over 40 emails found their way to the Board of Education over a 24-hour time frame and the message was received.

Larger issues, like the potential closing of East School, which appears to still be on the table long term, still need to be hashed out and while many came to talk about just that in the regularly scheduled BOE meeting, the board did not have it on the agenda for Wednesday.

So, all in all, a good night in some ways but bigger fish still need to be fried in the big picture view.

It’s not an easy job but it appears this interim superintendent may just have what it takes to help lose the interim title.

She certainly made it known she is pro-student and pro-student/athlete on Wednesday night.

A good job by all involved.

Hey, now it's time to play ball!

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