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ACLU and Figure Skating

There's a story making the rounds about the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan investigating whether the City of Plymouth Michigan was discriminating against girls when it cut a figure skating program mainly attended by girls in favor of a hockey program, mainly attended by boys.

From the Detroit Free Press
:

Besides eliminating the basic skills ice skating program, the city decided that private figure skating programs would have to pay $255 an hour for a block of freestyle skating ice time rather than $10 per skater. City officials say the changes will generate $71,400, up from the current $32,200.

According to the city, the hockey teams will pay that fee. Officials with the skating programs say they can't afford it.

City officials say they had to make the changes to balance the city's budget.

The article reports that a Plymouth woman filed a complaint with the ACLU and that the group stated it would follow up on the matter. One concern is that the figure skating program was fine until the high school hockey team wanted to use the rink for practice.

From the article, it doesn't seem that there is gender discrimination - I have a feeling the city would have done whatever it could to make more money and it obviously stands to make more with the hockey players. It's sad that the publicly funded figure skating is no more, though. A lot of potential skaters will be missing out.

I have a feeling that this is not the only instance of figure skating programs getting cut in recent years, but what can be done to fix that other than charge the parents more money for ice time? Feel free to add your own experiences and suggestions to the comments section.