Barebones 2019 DCSD Special Olympics Track and Field Has No Room For Budget Cut

I attended 2019 DeKalb County School District Special Olympics, Track and Field event at Hallford Stadium today because my 5-year son was a willing and happy participant along with his mates at Coralwood School, a real God-send of an inclusive, K-3 through kindergarten, public elementary school.  Kellan is on the autism spectrum therefore he and I ran in the assisted 50-yard dash together taking second place in our closely contested heat and fourth place in the baseball/softball throw! Three virtual cheers for Special Olympics.

Special Olympics Atlanta

2019 DeKalb County School District Special Olympics

To be honest, the event today was not one where you would say tons of money was being spent to operate it. The event was actually quite barebones and truly relies on the many noble volunteers.

I have been around sports events my whole life. From the beginnings of the Hoop-It-Up, 3-on-3 basketball tournament to the most recent Super Bowl Live experience held here in Atlanta at Centennial Park, boy have they evolved. Technology is the glue to these modern day epic events but it was not needed today nearly at all.

Other than the hundreds of phones and cameras all the parents, family, friends, neighbors, teachers, caretakers, para-professionals, speech therapists, occupational therapists, medical professionals, bus drivers, security guard, police officers, and everyone else in attendance used to take pictures and videos, the only other tech I can think of that was in play was the PA system used during the opening ceremonies. The football scoreboard was not on. The stadium lights were not required on such as gorgeous spring day in Georgia. It did have an excellent turf field and nice track. Overall though, today’s event was barebones and then some.

If you watched Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 on ESPN at 1 am EST the last few weeks, the United Arab Emirates was hosting for the first time in the Middle East and North Africa region showing a unified front against discrimination.

Special Olympics are now both a showcase and holistic event wrapped into one. It is what it is.

Special Olympics Federal Funding Cuts

Special Olympics Federal Funding Elimination

The U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is under fire for the proposed elimination of $17.6 million in federal funding to Special Olympics as part of a 10 percent cut to the budget of the U.S. Department of Education by the Trump administration. Eliminating 29 Education programs are part of cuts projected to save $6.7 billion. As many as 272,000 or more kids will be affected by the cuts. Special Olympics in 2018 listed almost $150 million in “revenue, gains, and other support.”

What does this all mean? It means nothing right now because it’s a proposed budget by the President. Congress determines whether to let the President’s budget wishes concerning specific federal programs happen or not.  When Trump tried this last year for fiscal 2019, Republican held Senate and Congress denied the proposed cut to Special Olympics and instead gave the nonprofit extra funding.

Philanthropy by corporations, foundations and individuals obviously keeps Special Olympics afloat because eliminating 10% of their budget is not going to cause the company to go bankrupt with more than $120 million in operating capital. The Official 2020 budget summary will certainly be met with heavy resistance by Congress and the Democratic majority.

Special Olympics, Priceless

Sports Techie, Special Olympics cuts will not happen fiscal 2020, do not fret. Tomorrow is another story but for now, I believe their federal funding will stay in place.

Today was glorious. I turned 53-years of age and got to see Kellan, his school friends and complete strangers from nearby schools, all come together in the spirit of competition, overcoming any disability and making sure inclusion is part of making America great again for kids and adults.

Am I disappointed that Trump would even fathom the notion of cutting federal funding to Special Olympics as part of budgets cuts? Yes, I am and hopefully you are too.  Will it happen? No chance. Still, I am left with a bitter taste in my mouth today by the “tough decisions with the budget” quote by DeVos, on behalf of 45. Really, the Special Olympics! #cmonman

Are charter schools in need of more funding at the expense of public education and Special Olympics?

There were less participants today than  last year, a fact I verified with Coach, Kellan’s PE teacher.

I say increase Special Olympics funding again but make sure it is mostly earmarked for low and middle income community needs because what I saw today hardly got much of last year’s $150 million.

I’ve seen video boards at various stadiums around the state including at super nice high schools. We could sure have used one today at aged and weathered down Hallford Stadium to let the participants see themselves in action.

You decide if cutting Special Olympics funding is a truly good idea and let me know on our social media channels below.

See ya later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!

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