Activity Funding

Article excerpt

Equal funding for all By the numbers A lot of funding for sports and activities at Cheyenne's Central, East and South high schools comes from the schools' budgets Funds spent by the schools for athletics and activities this past year were about: Central High - $297,000 East High - $296,000 South High - $193,000 District national funding - $250,000 By Aerin Curtis CHEYENNE - Students in activities and athletics in Laramie County School District 1 know they are going to have to raise funds as a price of being involved. But that process has come under scrutiny recently as part of a larger look at the financial support that the district offers, said Tracey Kinney, assistant superintendent of instruction. "We also had concerns with the types of fundraising and the amount of fundraising," she said. "So we're trying to determine some criteria to make that a little more consistent." The district is looking at fundraising activities and how often students are out in the same communities, she said. Several parents, like Jeff Obrecht, said fundraising isn't a problem as long as it's a reasonable expectation. He had sons graduate from Cheyenne's Central and East high schools. "It's not a bad experience for the kids to have that in addition to the physical buy-in, to have the social buy-in too within reason," he said. "It wasn't unreasonable. It was a fairly healthy exercise for the kids too." Parent Jessica Sauter agrees. "On the occasions that they have had to do it, I haven't minded," she said. "But I do know some parents that have had to do a lot." Not all parents feel that way. Several have asked about the amount of fundraising their students do for some programs while it appears others have to raise few funds, if at all. The funding path The level of support offered through the school or from the district can differ for students who are part of a sport, a class-related event or an extracurricular activity. Funds may start with the district, but much of the budgeting work is handled at the building level, Central Principal Steve Newton said. Funds for extracurricular programs are split between three groups: athletics; activities that are part of a class, like drama; and activities that get smaller amounts of funding because they aren't related to a class. "I also budget money separately for travel needs for other activities (like) science Olympiad, DECA (and) FBLA," Newton said. "It's like the state math contest: Some of those are local and some aren't, so I budget money out of my building account for that." Most of the predicted costs take into account that a certain number of students will need to travel to a certain location and how many meals will be necessary, he said. "It's never a question of which do we feel is more important," Newton said. "The kids are putting their hard work into it, regardless of our personal preferences." This past year, the money schools set aside to fund activities and sports differed by school, said Mike Wiggam, administrator of finance. Central spent about $297,000, East about $296,000 and South about $193,000. The money goes to cover items like equipment, supplies, materials and services that might be needed. Parts of a group's travel also are covered through the fund. There are several reasons that South had a smaller budget, Wiggam said. It is a smaller school and it is still working to build some of its programs. "South is new," he added. "So a lot of equipment was put in there as a new building. They haven't hit replacement cycles yet." Activities funding Activities that get funding fall into two basic groups, district administrators said. One is funded to a basic level, much like athletics are, Newton said. "There are certain groups where it's tied in with the course - speech is an actual course that students are in as opposed to FBLA," he said. "Things like speech and debate, choir and band, (I) wouldn't view much different than athletic events. So part of my budget allocation takes the travel into account. …