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      Athletics an option for school system budget cuts

      School Board members are looking for ways to cut the budget next year

      It's possible the athletic departments in the Dougherty County School System may see cuts in order to balance the budget.

      Board members considered the idea in a hearing Tuesday.

      Board Chair James Bush says everything is on the table, with the exception of educational programs.

      However, not everyone is happy about the possibility.

      You've got a lot of children coming from single parent homes, and coaches, whether they're in the elementary, middle or high school level, they serve as a parental-type figure to these athletes. Sport programs give student athletes an identity and makes them feel that they belong to something, says Westover High School Athletic Director Harley Calhoun.

      Board members are looking into several options, including school consolidation, but they will have to make a decision soon--many teachers TM contracts are up for renewal in May.