Math-letes vs. Athletes: Examining Extracurricular Funding in Public Schools
It is commonly accepted that football is king in Texas Schools, and all other activities must bow before the cultural royal imperative of pigskin. But is that the whole story?
When looking at the budget breakdown, however, non-athletic extracurricular activities, such as UIL One-Act Play, Band, Speech and Debate, receive an overall, though only slightly, heftier cut, with the majority of the funds funneled into Band activities. For instance in Hays county, from 2011 to 2016, school districts spent on average over $860,000 on athletics yearly, which includes sports, drill team, and cheerleading, while also spending over $1.075 million dollars on non-athletic extra curricular activities. These trends are uniform State-wide.
Does this mean that Texans would actually rather enjoy a post-modern revival of The Tempest in the form of an interpretive hip-hop trapeze act instead of young boys hitting their heads against each other? Well, maybe not. Remember that band takes the lions share of the extracurricular budget, and band is often utilized in direct support of a school’s athletic teams. It doesn’t take a Math-lete to calculate there is relatively little money to be divided amongst the rest of the extracurricular buffet.
Still, despite the slight budgetary advantage, teachers who sponsor extracurricular activities often find themselves footing the bill for activity-related expenses.
I’ve had to purchase my own costumes,” Greg Griffin, drama teacher and UIL sponsor at Calhoun High School, says. “Building materials for sets, even lighting equipment. Sometimes I’m reimbursed, sometimes I’m not.”
Melissa King-Knowles, current principal at Sartartia Middle School in Fort Bend ISD and former drama teacher, understands both sides of the issue and offers her perspective. “Often, the speed at which funding can be secured is too slow for the needs of the production or event, so teachers will have to go into their own pocket to solve an immediate problem. Usually, they are able to be reimbursed.”
A thorough explanation of all and general funds in Texas budgets can be found in this article from The Rivard Report.DATA