Boosters To Help Bridge Budget Gap
By: Tom Moran Jr.
It seems that the Athletic Boosters Club will step in to help bridge a $28,000 gap to cover the cost of sports that were previously self-funded.
At the school committee meeting Wednesday night, Athletic Director Martin J. Cosgrove told the board that the Boosters Club plans to hold five additional fundraising events this year to help these unfunded sports.
The athletic director projects that these events could raise $11,500, which he said is “an achievable goal.”
The first event is a Blue Knight Pride Night scheduled for Tuesday, October 27, at the Sagamore Inn Restaurant on Route 6A. It is a buffet-style dinner of Italian cuisine. The cost for the dinner is $18 per adult and $12 for children under 12 years old, with a cap of $50 for a family of four. The dinner will be held from 5 until 8:30 PM. Mr. Cosgrove said he will have registration forms at the high school and forms will be sent home with students at each of the K-8 schools for families who might want to attend the event.
A second Blue Knight Pride Night is tentatively scheduled for the spring and will be hosted by Seafood Sam’s on Coast Guard Road in Sandwich.
The Boosters Club is also planning to sponsor a high school dance on Friday, November 20. Mr. Cosgrove estimates that this event could raise $2,000 to $3,000.
A 24-hour soccer marathon planned for the winter is expected to raise $2,000 to $3,000.
The Boosters Club has also enrolled in the Super Stop & Shop A+ program, where residents simply go online to www.stop&shop.com to designate a school to receive a cash back bonus. Every time registered Stop & Shop customers use their Stop & Shop cards, points accrue based on the amount of the purchase and at the end of each month, the points determine the amount that the school receives in cash. Stop & Shop then credits the money to the designated school’s account.
Beyond these fundraising events, the Athletic Boosters’ Club has also promised to donate $2,500 to the school’s athletic revolving account at the end of each of the three sport seasons.
Superintendent of Schools Mary Ellen Johnson expressed her appreciation for these additional fundraising efforts and donations.
“I’m very excited about these events. In economic times like these, we have to be creative so that we can still expand opportunities even as our budgets are shrinking,” she said.
The total cost to fund girls’ ice hockey, wrestling, sailing, and track is $64,000. This covers expenses associated with coaches’ salaries, transportation, and referees.
Earlier this year, the school board voted to approve increasing athletic fees from $135 to $150 per student athlete per sport. According to Mr. Cosgrove, this increase along with charging an athletic fee to participants in the previously unfunded sports is expected to generate an additional $36,000. He based his estimate on the number of students who participated in sports last year and said that revenues could be higher or lower depending on a number of variables.
Mr. Cosgrove said he has already seen an increase in the number of students participating in fall sports and that it is possible there will be an increase in the number of participants in the sports that were previously unfunded, which could generate more than the $36,000 he originally projected.
However, the amount of money generated from the fee increase could also be lower depending on the number of students who may qualify for financial aid or a family cap.
“These figures are based upon participation numbers remaining the same [as last year], the removal of the family cap, and no financial aid being figured into the equation,” Mr. Cosgrove wrote in a memo to Dr. Johnson.
He said in past years approximately 10 percent of student athletes either qualified to have the fee waived because of financial issues or were entitled to a family cap, which is set at $500.
While the increase in the fees is projected to generate $36,000, it still left the school department $28,000 short of covering the cost for all four of the sports.
With the Boosters Club offering to donate $7,500 and expected to raise $11,500 from its new fundraising programs, Mr. Cosgrove said that leaves only a $10,000 gap to fill.
“It doesn’t eliminate the need for these sports teams to raise money, but it does decrease the amount of money they will have to raise,” he said.
While participants in the wrestling, winter track, and sailing programs will have to raise that money, athletes in the girls’ ice hockey program will not. Because of Title 9 discrimination laws, Dr. Johnson said it is necessary to completely fund the girls’ ice hockey team since the school completely funds the boys’ hockey program. The cost to fund the girls’ program is approximately $26,000. Mr. Cosgrove said he has already received some good news that this projected cost may be lower since ice rental fees may be less than he originally estimated.
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