For many Buccaneers’ away games, buses take the kids to the event, drop them off, then leave. Teams are then on their own for rides home.
On the surface, this move sounds a little sketchy. But dig deeper into the issue and it’s clear that this is a fantastic cost-cutting move by the school district.
First off, larger teams such as football, track and field, and cross-country still receive full bus service, according to Athletic Director Robin Bye. Smaller teams such as golf, tennis, and even baseball and softball can save money by using one of the department’s eight vans. Those vans are also available to self-funded sports such as lacrosse, hockey and water polo.
But, for some teams — such as soccer and basketball squads — it’s a drop-off only. Bye said a majority of the athletes would get rides home with their parents from away events, leaving buses with only a handful of kids filling the dozens of seats.
Instead of paying a bus driver about $20 an hour to fill out Sudoku puzzles while the freshman, junior varsity and varsity basketball teams play for five-plus hours at an away venue, student-athletes instead hitch a ride home with their parents or another approved driver.
It’s not like kids are getting left behind by mistake, or taking off in a car full of classmates. Bye said a very specific plan is in place in regards to with whom athletes can ride home. Permission slips must be signed ahead of time to ensure athletes are riding home with responsible drivers.
Safety, not money, is the No. 1 concern, Bye said.
But money is a big part of it, and one advantage of the money-saving move by the Bucs is that Grand Haven can continue to offer a wide variety of athletic options to its students. While some schools are being forced to cut programs, Grand Haven has, over the past several years, added boys and girls lacrosse, boys and girls bowling, and equestrian as varsity sports.
We’re all for this money-saving move by the Grand Haven athletic department. Kudos to Bye, and his predecessor, Jack Provencal, and all others who had the foresight to come up with such a plan that would create such a significant savings for a cash-strapped department.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.