Featured Stories

Possibilities run the gamut for sports funding

Ideas are numerous for financing school sports programs outside of the Portland school district's general operating budget. But the challenges of getting them to work are numerous, too.

For example, in December the Salem City Council approved a meals and amusement tax to raise $1.6 million for after-school programs at nine middle schools. The 5 percent amusement tax on items such as movie admissions and video rentals is the first of its kind in the state. It is set to take effect July 1.

But a change in council membership this month already has the new council looking to undo the meals and amusement tax, so it may never raise a dime.

Lynn Lashbrook, a former sports agent turned marketing educator, says professional sports should help fund district athletics through a ticket tax.

'If the Blazers and a baseball team paid 50 cents per ticket, that would provide plenty of money for high school athletics,' says Lashbrook, one of the most ardent supporters of bringing a major league baseball team to Portland. 'We should at least consider that.'

However, based on last year's attendance figures, a 50-cent Trail Blazer ticket tax would have raised approximately $409,200 Ñ less than 20 percent of what the Portland Interscholastic League needs for the school year. And, of course, Portland may never get a major league baseball team.

Ñ Cliff Pfenning