Portland school officials should be praised, not panned, for looking for new ways to pay for sports programs.

Unfortunately, too many parents and fans are wedded to the way things have been done in the past. What they don’t seem to realize is that standing still is not an option. The question is not whether to change — but how.

The first proposed change was moving from a constellation of sports booster programs that raise money for individual teams to single booster organizations for each high school.

That move was driven mostly by the need to make sure sports spending is done equitably and to ensure accountability for fundraisers. But it also creates opportunities to raise money from foundations and businesses that would support programs without burdening the city’s taxpayers.

Another proposal would allow the booster organizations to sell advertising on the sides of buses that transport athletes to games.

This is exactly where the schools should be heading. Sports and other extracurricular activities should be aggressive in looking for new sources of revenue so that these important programs can continue to be offered at a time when state and federal funds are drying up.

Moving sports programs off the list of taxpayer-funded programs would provide security for the participants and relief for the people who have to pay the bills.