SCHOOLS Sports teams on losing end

Numbers are always of significance for area schools.

Whether it be test scores, enrollment figures or the rising annual budgets, the numbers do not lie. But a recent revelation at a Cassadaga Valley school board meeting is cause for concern.

In a district of nearly 1,000 students with a strong history of athletics, it seems as though sports participation is on the decline. Early numbers indicate the school will not be able to field football or soccer teams next fall.

“It is mind-boggling how it got to this point so quickly,” district athletic director Mark Peterson said. “Everything is changing so drastically.”

Actually, it is not.

A number of districts in recent years have dropped junior varsity sports in favor of modified teams, which include grades seven and eight. And, the enrollment numbers have been declining for years in the overabundant 18 school districts as well in our county.

Fewer students also mean a smaller pool of potential athletes to choose from.

Cassadaga Valley may soon be teaming with another district, which is a solution done by larger districts such as Dunkirk, Fredonia and Silver Creek.

The larger pool of athletes, the better the quality of the sport. The same can be said for educational quality as well. The larger the school, the better the educational offerings.

Ripley parents with students attending Chautauqua Lake can vouch for that.