New budget plan proposes to add middle school athletics


Darius Damian

Westley Maxwell, an eighth-grader on the Dolphins Team dribbling a basketball

Darius Damian, Writer

Middle school sports could become a reality under a budget proposed this winter by FCPS Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid.

On Jan. 12, Dr. Reid proposed a new budget plan for 2023-2024. The $3.5 billion budget is a $249.6 million (7.6%) increase over the approved budget for fiscal year 2023, which began July 1, 2022 and ends June 30. This included $600,000 allocated to start implementation of middle school athletics.

“You had me at middle school sports,” said Hunter Mill District representative Melanie Meren. “I think about where I grew up and the sports there, and it’s something that’s so missed here.”

This money is planned to provide staff athletic stipends, transportation, uniforms, equipment, and physical exam reimbursements for students eligible for free or reduced-price meals. B

Akshay Malhotra, an eighth-grader on the Voyagers team, said, “I do support middle school sports.”

He added, “I believe that middle school sports will allow for many fundraising opportunities and it could be a fun time for both students watching the sport and the players playing the sports.”

But this decision also comes with some backlash from both parents and students.

Christian Wyatt, an eighth-grader on the Voyagers team, said he has concerns. “I feel like it would be unorganized,” he said.

He added, “I think the people that already consistently play sports would not be able to play because they don’t have time.”

This new budget plan not only plans to implement middle school sports but also expand high school counseling for students into summer break.

Nandan Velayudhan, an eighth-grader on the Yellow Jackets team said, “I support middle school sports because it allows students to be physically active and create new relationships.”