The Cost of Athletics
by MIKE CUNEO
Assistant Superintendent of Finance
Rockford Public Schools
When we think of June, parents, students and staff are thinking about the end of the school year and making plans for a well-deserved summer break. June is, however, the time of year when we are planning the budget for the next school year and revising the current school year budget.
The fiscal year of the school district is July 1 to June 30. As mandated by law, we are required to submit to the Board of Education for formal adoption the revised general fund budget of the 2011-12 school year and the proposed general fund budget for the 2012-13 school year. Preparation and planning of the general fund budget encompasses revenues received from state and federal sources and expenditures for the district’s instructional programs and support services, which include operations and maintenance, transportation, community services as well as the athletic program. One question that is often asked is, “What is the cost of athletics to the district?”
During the 2011-12 school year, over 30 varsity sports were offered to students through the district’s athletic program with more than 2,600 secondary students participating. Revenue received from the various sports encompasses gate receipts, student fees for pay-to-participate and donations. The total revenue for the 2011-12 school year was $452,838.
Expenditures for the athletic program include salaries for coaches, cost of officials and game staff, tournament fees and travel expenses, as well as equipment, supplies and uniforms. The total expenditures for the 2011-12 school year were $1,264,508.
As you can see, the costs of the athletic program are higher than the revenues received. The difference of $811,670 is covered by a general fund subsidy. This amount equates to 1.1% of the total overall general fund budget of $70+ million. While the dollar amount may seem large as a percentage of the overall general fund budget, it is a very small percentage.
As the Board of Education has implemented budget reductions over the last few years, all programs have been impacted, including athletics. With assistance from the Sports Boosters and community, the district has been able to minimize the impact of cuts to the program. Their generous donations and support have covered the cost of purchasing uniforms, supplies and equipment. During the difficult time of budget reductions, we do continue to look at other means of funding to maintain the integrity of the athletic program. The community support and pride in our athletic program is outstanding and very much appreciated, and has contributed to the success of our students and the program.