By David Howell
WATER VALLEY – To say that operation Home Team scored a homerun in their fundraising efforts to restore cuts made to the Water Valley School District’s athletic programs would be an understatement.
Junior high baseball, volleyball and track programs were slated to be eliminated in the 2009-2010 school year, after state funding cuts to education pushed school board members to make across-the-board cuts both in the current and coming school years.
Coming to the rescue was operation Home Team with respected Water Valley physician, Dr. Joe Walker, and avid sports mom Leigh Ann Coffey leading the charge. The group had only a month to raise $9,350.70 to keep the sports programs enacted in the coming school year.
“It is moments like these that make you really understand why you love Water Valley,” Dr. Walker told board members before breaking the news during Monday night’s school board meeting that Home Team had raised more than double the amount needed.
“We were able to raise $22,150,” Dr. Walker said, as he noted the resilience of Vallians.
“Every time we needed something, the community provides. No where can you find the giving and the caring that this little community has,” Dr. Walker told board members.
During the open session of the meeting, board members voted to accept the $9,350.70 donation as Dr. Walker handed over the check.
What to do with the remaining $12,800 raised by the group was discussed in executive session, with personnel cited as the reason for the closed portion of the meeting.
Superintendent Sammy Higdon said after the meeting that the board tabled a request by Dr. Walker and Coffey on how to allocate the remaining funds. Higdon said the decision was deferred because the school is waiting to see how much money comes from the federal stimulus package, which will help determine how the school’s 2009/2010 budget is finalized. The remaining money is in Home Team’s bank account.
Dr. Walker and Coffey told the Herald that donations were as large as a $7,500 check and as small as a few bucks.