Funding of Buffalo High School Sports: Unequal But Fair

Money Is Distributed Based on Program Needs

Activities Director Tom Bauman has the challenging responsibility of managing sports funding.  Bauman controls the money distribution between sports and makes every attempt to ensure that it is fair. His job also involves educating people on how sports are not funded equally, but fairly, because people tend to come to negative conclusions very quickly.

The Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose school district has a yearly operating budget of fifty-five million dollars that must cover all spending for every schools’ needs. This includes teachers salaries, classroom supplies, and school necessities. Of this fifty-five million, about two percent goes to middle and high school activities. This two percent is about 1.1 million, and how it gets dispersed among all of the activities is determined by their individual fundamental needs.

A sport needs six different things in order to run, coaches, transportation, supplies, workers, referees, and general maintenance, and all these things cost money, but each sport has different needs. For example, cross country doesn’t need referees or much general maintenance. Football, on the other hand, needs all of the above six things in order for the sport to work. Therefore, it isn’t necessary for cross country to receive as much money as football.

A Booster Club plays an essential role in helping the activity run to its full potential. Booster clubs consist of parents, businesses, and community members who donate money, time, or supplies to support an activity. Although the activity would still be able to run without a booster club, they wouldn’t be nearly as effective.

“The Booster Club enhances the sport,” said Bauman.

For example, the school would supply the sport a school bus to go to an away game or meet, but the Booster Club might decide to pay for a coach bus in order to keep the kids comfortable on longer trips.

Some booster clubs are more effective than others though, and it simply boils down to the fact that some sports have more kids, therefore a wider reach to the community. Football and track and field have about 100 kids each, with 100 kids and their parents all fundraising, they are likely to raise more money than a sport with 30 kids.

Sports funding can become very controversial very fast.

“It is a controversial topic because people are uneducated [about it],” said Bauman.

Many people do not understand the whole concept of money management for school activities because of a lack of knowledge. This topic can frustrate many people because of the simple idea that  sports are not funded equally, but with good reason, as the money is dispersed logically. When people are more open to learning and accepting this fact, they can understand the idea of sports funding and what goes on behind the scenes.

Overall Bauman said that the BHM School district wants kids to have the best experience possible.

“We want kids to find a connection through traditional sports and other activities that they enjoy,” said Bauman.

This connects with the district’s motto of ‘doing what’s best for kids’. Through extreme consideration of every sports need, and how much money they require, the sports program is thriving.

Photos by Lilly Ragab and Alayna Mills, Tatanka Yearbook

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