Published DateWe reluctantly swallow the school board's theory on "preventive maintenance" and spend $100,000 or so on the high school's sports facilities after only five years of use, but is it too much to ask for the board to show a modicum of business savviness to soften the blow to taxpayers?
Each year Kennett High School collects thousands of dollars from ticket sales to football and basketball games. The money goes into an account with no dedicated purpose, an account that in recent years the high school has used as a slush fund for unforeseen, unbudgeted expenses — $5,600 for soccer uniforms, $4,400 from weightlifting equipment, $2,000 for the student council and the national honor society advisers in 2011, more than $1,000 for football program expenses this year.
The school board routinely approves requests for money from the account, and why not, there are no clear guidelines for spending it.
This summer, meanwhile, the school reconditioned its athletic facilities. The school is only five years old, but citing "preventative maintenance” the board approved more than $70,000 in repairs — $22,000 to resurface the track, $19,000 to repair the tennis courts, $15,000 for a new scoreboard, $15,000 more to refinish the gym floor.
Where does the money come from for those repairs? Tax dollars.
Is it just us, or is a clear opportunity being missed here? Wouldn’t the money generated by ticket sales at the gym and the football stadium be better spent maintaining the gym and football stadium?
School officials estimate gate receipts bring in around $10,000 a year. That means over the four years since the school opened they could have squirreled away $40,000. That would have done quite a bit to help pay for preventive maintenance.
Instead, the money is spent on a wish-list. Coach Mike Holderman spent $4,400 on exercise equipment for the football team — equipment intended for off season training only — even though the high school already has a fantastic weight room that’s only three years old.
And this year Holderman was back to get money for knee and thigh pads.
Instead of spending money on items that should be in the budget in the first place, the school should save gate receipts for what matters: the upkeep of the facilities themselves. In a $33 million budget, saving $10,000 a year isn't a huge amount, but it would be nice for change to hear about the board figuring out a way to save some money rather than spend it.