The spending game: Keeping track of athletic budgets

Kaylee Bushell

The buzzer rings and the crowd roars. Another Redwood pennant to hang in a gym already decked with banners of athletic success. As the team rushes the court in victory, their matching uniforms, team shoes, and team bags stand out in the background.

According to the 2013-2014 TUSHD Athletic Report, 1,045 Redwood students participated in a school-related sport––65 percent of the student body sporting the latest uniforms, utilizing equipment, and requesting money for new and improved items.

Junior Isaac Perper kicks a soccer ball, senior Christine Cook plays goalie, junior Hayden Dean shoots a basket, and junior Nate Orwig spikes a volleyball.
Junior Isaac Perper kicks a soccer ball, senior Christine Cook plays goalie, junior Hayden Dean shoots a basket, and junior Nate Orwig spikes a volleyball.

Two main athletic budgets provide funding for the acquisition of desired equipment, according to Redwood’s athletic director, Jessica Peisch.

The maintenance and expenditures budget of $177,673 provides funding for coaches’  salaries and team equipment, while the Benchwarmers budget, $156,102, allocates money toward the “above and beyond.”

The Benchwarmers budget funds the purchase of items such as team shoes and new scoreboards, as well as vans and buses for away games. Any rollover money from the previous year can be added to the next year’s budget.

Last year, $14,102 remained in the budget. This money has since been carried over to this school year’s budget.

“Having paid-for team sweatshirts and other accessories affects our games because it really brings a sense of pride to the team,” said four-year varsity lacrosse player Christine Cook. “When I walk onto the field matching my teammates, it makes me feel like we’re a unit.”

So far, Benchwarmers alone has spent $67,576.35 on funding for fall sports and the trainer’s salary, leaving $88,525.65 for the remainder of the school year.

According to Peisch, Redwood, Drake, and Tam each receive the same amount of money for the maintenance and expenditures budget, regardless of the demand and size of the student population.

However, the amount of money allocated toward each sport varies by the school. Redwood spends roughly double the amount of money on annual football safety checks in comparison to other schools in the district, according to the athletic budget numbers.

Peisch stated that this could partially be due to the fact that Redwood is the largest high school in the district, with a 1,604 student enrollment in the 2013-2014 school year, whereas Tam had 1,281 students and Drake 980.

Redwood dedicates a large sum of money to its football teams, according to the athletic budget numbers. According to Peisch, football tallies as the most expensive sport, followed by baseball and then both boys’ and girls’ lacrosse.

However, the football teams at all high schools in the district receive a large amount of money from the maintenance and expenditures budget due to the required equipment and yearly safety checks.

“It cost [Redwood] about $7,000 to conduct our annual checks for the football team’s helmets, while it only cost Drake $3,000,” Peisch said.

This large difference in money spent is not all due to the student population differences. According to the 2013-2014 athletic report for the Tamalpais District, there were 114 football players for Redwood and 82 for Drake. This means that in the 2013-2014 school year, Redwood football spent about $61 per football player, while Drake only spent $37 per player just for their annual safety check expenses.

Redwood’s other teams usually allocate their funds toward the purchase of new playing equipment and other essentials, which cost significantly less than the money put into the necessary safety checks for football, according to Peisch.

Individual sport teams can fundraise for additional money at their own discretion. By participating in fundraising on the side, teams can buy excess gear that is not included in the athletic budget, according to Peisch.

According to girls’ varsity basketball head coach Diane Peterson, the Redwood girls’ basketball program raised $9,524 last season through independent player fundraising. The boys’ program raised a total of $4,000.

This year, according to Peterson, the girls are hoping to beat last year’s numbers and reach a grand total of $10,000.