It appears as if there will be water polo at Riverside-Brookfield High School after all next year. In response to complaints from parents, alumni and current water polo players and concerns expressed by school board members the high school’s administration has come up with a way to save the sport, which had been slated to be the only one eliminated due to budget constraints.
At the June 14 meeting of the RBHS school board, Athletic Director Art Ostrow said he had re-examined his budget and came up with a way to keep water polo. His recommendation now is to retain its boys and girls water polo teams next year.
Ostrow told the school board that he scoured the athletic department budget and decided to cut all staff development spending, institute a 30-percent across-the-board cut in supplies and increase athletic department fundraising to come up with the money to preserve water polo.
Under the new proposal, boys water polo would lose an assistant coach position, and both boys and girls water polo would have just coach each.
“I think it is a great solution,” Ostrow said.
Ostrow said the increased fundraising would be aimed at offsetting the cut in the supply budget. He said the fundraising would be coach and department focused and not student focused and would probably involve bringing back the athletic department ad book as well as hosting bigger events that could raise money.
At the April and May school board meetings numerous parents and one recent graduate implored the board to save water polo. Nearly 100 people signed petitions that asking the board to preserve water polo. A Save RB Water Polo Facebook page was started and quickly grew to 93 members.
One of the water polo parents urging the board not to cut water polo was Caryl Salomon-Moon, the wife of school board member Dan Moon.
Laurie Risley, the mother of a former RB water polo player, spoke at the two board meetings about the unique value of water polo. She was happy to hear of the administration’s change of heart.
“I’m very pleased with it, because I think it has unique qualities that really don’t overlap in a lot of the other sports,” Risley said. “My son had a great time playing water polo for four years.”
Risley said that she has another son, Quinn, who will soon be a freshman at RB and is an avid water polo player. She said that she is thrilled that he will have a chance to play water polo just like his older brother, Graham, did.
Dan Moon, who has two children who play water polo at RB, said he believes the board will keep water polo next year now that the administration has found money in its proposed budget to keep the sport.
“I think it’s terrific,” Moon said. “for a lot of personal reasons, but I probably wouldn’t have gotten as involved if we hadn’t heard from so many other families.”