PORTLAND – Students from Portland’s Benson High School took to the streets Monday night to protest possible cuts to the school’s athletic programs.
Benson was the last Portland Interscholastic League school to win a state football title, back in 1988. Since then, Benson has become a focus school, and seen much lower enrollment numbers.
Last year, Benson didn’t win a single varsity football game.
The students are afraid their sports teams are on the chopping block for the next round of Portland Public Schools budget cuts. They marched two miles in the rain Monday night to tell the school board how they felt.
“It makes me really sad, it's totally unfair to us,” said soccer captain Bryan Hernandez. “We're in a unique school. We have so much diversity, and all we want to do is play our sports and prove that we are mighty, mighty Techmen.”
Portland Public Schools Athletic Director Marshal Haskins said the district is assessing every sport at every high school to determine which programs may be cut.
“We're trying to build viable competitive high school programming, and in order to do that you have to have sustainable programs,” Haskins said.
District officials will meet with community members in the next few weeks before making any decisions. Haskins told KGW his goal is to give all kids the opportunity to participate in athletics, but he isn't sure exactly what that's going to look like.