High schools face cuts in extracurricular activities like band

It's another football night at Traz Powell Stadium in North Miami-Dade, and two of the top teams in the county are in a spirited struggle.

But the atmosphere doesn't match the intensity on the field. Something's missing. The only thing heard from the stands are screams from a few hundred fans.

Marching bands? Nowhere to be found. With a shrinking budget for high school athletics and activities, there is not enough money and some games just don't feel the way they used to.

``We'll probably only be able to bring them to half the games this year,'' said Miami Norland athletic director Ira Fluitt, who remembers when high school sporting events were big deals during his basketball glory days at Miami Springs in the 1980s. ``The band is a big part of the game. The fans come to the game to watch football, but the band keeps everybody entertained. The football games don't have a soundtrack anymore.''

South Florida high schools have produced many star athletes over the years including Chad Ochocinco, Andre Johnson, Mike Lowell and Udonis Haslem. But the weight rooms, uniforms and equipment were already hand-me-downs when they were teens.

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