With school about to start on Sept. 5, and just days to go before a fund-raising deadline, seventh and eighth grade student-athletes at the Springs School and their parents are breathing easier. The Springs Athletic Booster Club announced this week that it had raised nearly $35,000 to ensure that the sports program Springs has shared in the past with the East Hampton Middle School will continue.
Due to budget cuts, the Springs School Board had eliminated the program in the spring. Besides the combined sports program, the board also eliminated two teaching-assistant positions, five teachers, and summer school.
Last year, 39 students participated in the after-school program, which offereed football, cross-country, track and field, wrestling, and lacrosse.
But the cost, just over $19,500, plus another $14,000 for transportation, was more than the school board thought the district could afford while complying with the state-imposed limit on tax increases, which led to cuts of almost $800,000 from the 2012-13 budget.
Earlier this summer, seven parents formed the Springs Athletic Booster Club to help bridge the gap. But with a deadline of Sept. 1, many were skeptical that the necessary money could be raised in time.
“I’m ecstatic. We finally reached our goal,” said Mark Lappin, a Springs parent who spearheaded the effort. “Sports are back for Springs School.”
Mr. Lappin, whose son is entering seventh grade and hopes to play football, said that more than 100 donors had helped the club reach its goal. He said he had personally knocked on the doors of more than 200 local businesses. And, with a daughter going into fifth grade, Mr. Lappin said he is in it for the long haul.
“It was a whole lot of hard work,” he said. “I’m going to work to ensure this never happens again.”
Mr. Lappin said that the bookkeeper at Rumrunner Home, a furnishings store with branches in Wainscott and Southampton, where he works, kept track of the money raised. It will now be handed over to the Springs PTA, which will make the contribution.