The Story Behind Sports Funding


Elias Kaplan, Contributor

Where does the money for high school sports programs really come from?

One common misconception among young adults and adolescents about how public high schools actually raise and spend money for their athletic programs is the belief that a school simply chooses which programs to fund, and the amount of money to allocate to specific programs, that is not the case.

SRHS relies on three different sources of money for athletic programs. The school uses money that is part of the district athletic budget, money that athletic boosters raise and disperse to teams via the “Ask” method, and individual team fundraising.

The district athletic budget gives $90,000 to the school and much of that is used to pay for officials, coaches and gear for whichever teams need it most.

Then there is the money athletic boosters raise through the “Ask” method. After each team’s season, they submit a “team ask.” Some of these boosters raise money through banner sales, events like the pancake breakfast held at school, and We Are SR, which is the PTA of our school.

Also, individual team fundraising raises money for specific teams to make up funding deficits.

Team members sell items like cookie dough or popcorn and the school earns almost half of what is made in profit and can use that money for those programs, whether it be for a team store, new gear, or something else of the team’s liking and needs.

Jacob Ferreri, a sophomore athlete at San Rafael high school, raised over $600 last year for the school’s varsity lacrosse program. He believes that athletes should seriously encourage each other to fundraise as much as possible to help the program and its players.

Jacob was also partly motivated by knowing there are some student athletes who might not be able to afford gear, thus ruining their chance to play that sport. He wanted the school’s lacrosse program to be able to support its players and offer aid to those less fortunate in order for more students to be able to play.

At San Rafael High, there is also a program known as “The Team,” which is the school’s Athletic Leadership Community and is made up of 1 to 2 student athletes from each team who represent true leadership. They try to identify problems or issues around the school and talk about such things at meetings.

The goal of The Team is to inform people about athletic fundraising and increase school spirit for better representation of sports.

Occasionally, there are complaints about fundraisers lacking variety or always being the same for the same teams, which tends to lead players away from participating and trying to fundraise immediately. Student athletes notice that many potential donors get bored of buying the same products year after year to support the sports teams.

Students suggested modernizing fundraising methods and linking it more to technology. Such as finding new and different fundraising programs to fundraise online instead of going door to door the traditional way.

Dominic Blanco, a senior at San Rafael High, said that teachers and staff members need to be more unified with students and that we should create a stronger school community.

Jose De La Rosa is the athletic director at San Rafael High. He suggests also that student athletes work with their parents on fundraising to ultimately accumulate more money. De La Rosa noted that teams who have both the students and parents involved tended to be able to raise more money for their programs. He also said that being loud when voicing your program’s wants or needs isn’t necessarily what will get you heard; rather it is being present at meetings that matters, so team members can be better informed and have better involvement.

Students should advocate for themselves if they are curious about programs. Be proactive, come to ask questions if you don’t understand certain aspects of fundraising, voice your opinion or frustration, have the courage to talk about something you care about, and share all ideas for new approaches to raising money for our teams.