Complaints about funding distribution to athletics department largely unfounded

perspectives

Last year, it was the fitness center. This year, it’s the turf. To the ordinary CHS student or parent, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to question the amount of money that goes into funding the athletics department. Why spend millions of dollars on an expanded athletics facility when our classrooms are overcrowded? Why replace the turf in our stadium when our teachers are still bargaining for better salaries, when Scantrons are a precious commodity, when our computers take eons to load? At a school that takes so much pride in our sports teams’ success, these multimillion-dollar projects are easy targets for criticism and suggestions of favoritism.

But the answer isn’t that simple. Budget distribution in a school district is determined by complicated formulas, from the state to the local level. There are classifications and conditions, logistics and rules, all to ensure that each of the district’s expenditures can be paid for (the graphic on the right breaks down some of these divisions).

That’s not to say that at some level, different decisions couldn’t be made to pay our teachers  more or run our classrooms more smoothly. But the money spent on the new fitness center and the turf was an investment, one that wouldn’t have been easily or practically transferred for a different purpose. So before pointing fingers at the athletic department, we have to understand our school’s finance. We have to determine who has control over what and which funds can be used to pay for the projects we demand. And in the end, we have to make a judgment call. As Roger McMichael, the district’s Assistant Superintendent for Business Affairs, said, “(The money)’s  not all in one big pot.”

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