The student news site of Stephen F. Austin High School

The Maroon News

Where Does the Money Go?

Cole Ratliff, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






School budgeting is a daunting topic and something no student should have to worry about. Everything from culinary to football is funded, receiving money from AISD, the state, and school fundraisers.  It might surprise some to know how much of the athletics budget is raised from fundraisers. It might be less surprising to find out that some sports get more funding than others. Athletics isn’t the only area that gets funded, however. Take for instance the band, who has to pay for transport, uniforms, instruments and repairs, sound equipment, and entry fees for competitions and regional band.

Many other departments are in a similar position because a lot of things need to be paid for like supplies, food, and contest entries. Because of this, a kind of “inflation” can occur. If you give a department or branch a budget, they can spend it all and ask for more the next year. Often, you could increase a budget cap forever and they could find something to spend it on, no matter the size. This can lead to an inflated budget and is why schools, people, and companies get audited. An audit happens in order to prevent corruption and useless spending. The expense reports and receipts are reviewed and accounted for individually, and the receipts have to match the expenses.

For example, let’s say the track team at AHS gets a budget. The head coach realizes that the track needs a makeover, but doesn’t have the money in the budget this year. So, he requests money be added to the budget. But instead of asking for the money and saying it’s for a track, he lists it as a general expense. Somehow, this gets approved, and now the money is ready for next year. He pays for the makeover the next year, and the money’s gone. The year after, though, that money gets renewed. Since the makeover wasn’t listed as a one-time expense, the money keeps showing up, and they can spend that money on whatever they please until the school gets audited.

The Two Main budgets

The money that comes to the campus is mostly handled by Jeannie Mormon, the school’s bookkeeper. The school received $212,824 to cover expenses other than staff salaries, such as travel for staff and students, copier rental, substitutes, supplies for classrooms, and more. This is the main budget, and it is based on spending in previous years, and finalized by the Campus Advisory Council (CAC): headed by Amy Taylor.

Then there is a second budget, a “Supplemental Allocation” that is handled by the heads of each department in the district, at the district offices. This money goes to specific school departments, like the business department, culinary arts, special education, fine arts, speech/debate, journalism, etc. This budget is allocated by the district department boards, not the school.

Band

The band has a lot of factors to consider. For instance, the school band received half of the supplemental allocation for this year for various purposes, the largest one taking 41%  of the allocation for new uniforms for the band members. But that’s just at first glance. That is a one time fee and is only used once every 10 years. The band in previous years had many sponsors, but this year, the only sponsor is Double Dave’s Pizza. The band receives $50 per student for repairs and $25 per student for supplies. They also received $15000 a year for teaching that goes to travel and food, but this year that was upped to $25000. However, this money comes just from the district. The largest source of money besides the district is individual contributions. Every band student pays a $400-$450 fee every year they are enrolled in band.

Similar to the athletics department, the district allots the band a sum, and the band directors distribute the funds between the smaller parts of band (eg. Jazz Band). There are general fundraisers put on by the band department, as well as special fundraisers put on by each of the individual parts of band. These fundraisers include dinner dances, golf tournaments, candle sales, and ACL parking.

Another major source of income for the band is the boosters, who act as a sort of secondary treasury for the band. The boosters collect money raised by the band and put it in its own account, to be used after the district issued budget has been exhausted. For instance, the AHS band is planning on marching in a parade in London next year, but the trip is being paid for this year. Since the district money alone is not enough to pay for this, the boosters step in and fill in the gap whenever possible. The booster club meets once a month on campus and is similar to the CAC, but it only handles money donated to the band. Both the district budget and the booster donations can go towards various things, like transportation and competition fees. Some competitions like UIL are paid for by the school, but smaller competitions for things like solo ensemble and jazz band are not paid for by the district.

Athletics

Football in Texas is competitive and intensive at any level, and high school is no exception. Austin High has five teams and 12 coaches for football alone. The budgeting for the athletics department is not even handled by the school bookkeeper. The athletics budget is kept between the district and the head coaches for each sport. The school’s head coach doesn’t even know the budget details for any sport but their own.

Like other departments, the budget for athletics is determined by how many students are in the program, and the department receives a certain amount of money per child. This is the district allotted budget, and one of the sources of income for athletics. A second source is fundraising. Every sport does fundraisers, and it accounts for a major portion of total money towards athletics. The football team alone raises $7,000 to $15,000 on donations alone, just for their sport.

Like band, the football team has a booster club. The booster club doesn’t handle the district budget, and the coaches don’t handle the booster budget. The booster club sells sponsorships, takes donations, and donates their own money to their account. The football team has several yearly expenses to account for. Some things that need to be replaced often are pads, helmets, and various equipment. Specific figures could not be found, but for perspective, one new football helmet costs about $180. While it may seem that football receives the majority of funding, the football budget pays for all equipment in the weight.

This year, the boy’s locker room has been split in half again. Gates and fences were installed, hardwood floors added, and new lights added to a section of the locker room. This section has its own displays, lockers, and name plates. Once again, any information on the amount needed for this improvement could not be found.

Overall, a huge amount of money is spent on schools. All of the money previously mentioned comes from one of two budgets. The other budget is the staffing budget, and the two are kept comfortably separated. Once again, all of the information presented is in the public domain. Opinions are easy to have and to hear, and once backed up with evidence, they can gain major traction.

Print Friendly

The student news site of Stephen F. Austin High School
Where Does the Money Go?