Downturn in parental donations continues to hurt athletics program

April 1, 2018 — by Jackson Green and Muthu Palaniappan

Despite widespread marketing and appeals to parents, donations to the school’s athletics program are down again this year, possibly putting some sports at risk of not being offered in the future, athletics director Tim Lugo said.  

Last year, parents did not donate as much as they previously had to the school’s sports program, and this year Lugo estimates that the athletics program will be at least $60,000 in debt.

Expenses for the athletic program include coaches’ stipends, officiating costs, uniforms and equipment.

Last year, the sports program faced the same problem of having too many parents choosing to avoid paying the requested $200 when playing a sport. With ASB’s financial support, the program was able to pay off $85,000 in debt. But ASB’s accounts are also lower this year, and as it stands currently, ASB won’t be able bail out athletics again.  

Lugo hopes that the athletics program will be able to repay ASB with any extra money it may have in the future. As of now, his main goal is to get donations and funding running again.

“Some options we’re willing to take are not necessarily cutting sports, but telling parents, ‘This is what it costs,’” Lugo said. “It might not be $200 a sport; it might be $600 per sport, but that’s what it costs if you want to have that sport. If parents don’t donate, we can’t offer the sport.”

Some sports that received lower funding from parents in the past two years and could be vulnerable to cuts if the trend continues. Among these sports are badminton, track and girls’ lacrosse.

Another idea being floated right now is to cut transportation to away games by having parents drive instead of using vans and buses. This would save about $40,000 a year, Lugo said. Some coaching positions may also need to be cut to balance the budget.

Asked about the idea of cutting transportation, some student athletes weren’t enthusiastic. Junior Tanuj Vasudeva, who is on the track team, does not believe it is a viable solution.

“I personally don’t think individuals driving themselves to track meets will work due to large amounts of underclassmen,” Vasudeva said.

Another possible option to boost the budget is increased fundraising, but Lugo is unsure how successful the effort would be.

“Fundraising is difficult because we have so many off-campus coaches,” Lugo said. “They’re not really here year-round, so it’s hard to say, ‘Hey, show up in February to raise money for your sport’ to a spring coach.”

Lugo is hoping that with more communication and urgency,  donations from parents will increase, and sports budget issues will be solved.


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