News – Budget cuts effecting health care for athletes!

3 Jun

Pittsburgh, PA – The Armstrong School District, like many other school districts in PA, is facing some hard choices – making budget cuts.  66 employees have been had their jobs eliminated including the 4 athletic trainers at the school district’s 4 high schools.

Four of the district’s athletic trainer positions were eliminated with a 5-4 vote by school board directors May 23. A total of 66 employees were furloughed for a year, although they won’t take effect until July 1. The school district’s budget is set to be finalized the day before.

Since athletic trainers belong to the Armstrong Education Association, they cannot be replaced by paid short-term fill-ins, so their workload likely will fall to coaches.

This is placing the health of these athletes into the hands of unqualified people.  There will also be a major conflict of interest.  I am glad to see that this was not a unanimous decision, but eliminating the position of the AT will have a major negative outcome for the athletes of the school district as well as the athletes of visiting schools.

“I have expressed great concern about the elimination of that program because of the value that it provides not only to our kids but to kids from visiting schools, too,” Burkett said. “Most people never see all the work they do.”

Superintendent Stan Chapp did not return calls seeking comment.

Director Chris Choncek said he believes a plan will emerge before the school year, and he said adjustments to the budget might allow the district to retain at least one trainer.

“We’ll definitely have to have other options,” he said. “We can’t just have nobody tending to the athletes. … There will have to be some sort of compromise.”

Burkett said the school district has employed trainers for 12 years, and a few worked at the high schools before that through a program with Armstrong County Memorial Hospital. Trainers joined the Armstrong Education Association last year.

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