Recent budget cuts prompt sports teams to fundraise

December 17, 2014 — by Caitlin Ju, Nupur Maheshwari and Gitika Nalwa

This year district leaders decided to lower Saratoga High’s athletic asked-for contribution from $275 to $225 — the same amount now being sought at Los Gatos High School. Los Gatos’ contribution has been raised from $200 to $225.

According to Robinson, the district’s decision to lower Saratoga’s asked-for contribution has left SHS sports programs with a $12,000 deficit.

Senior Amanda Moriarty lugs five water bottles around campus, anxiously hawking her wares to passing students. She is selling these bottles priced at $15 for students and staff and $20 for people outside of school as part of the water polo teams’ fundraising efforts, prompted this year by cuts to the sports budget.

This year district leaders decided to lower Saratoga High’s athletic asked-for contribution from $275 to $225 — the same amount now being sought at Los Gatos High School. Los Gatos’ contribution has been raised from $200 to $225.

Principal Paul Robinson said Los Gatos has a more active athletic booster group that fundraises throughout the year, so in the past, Los Gatos has not needed a higher participation donation.

According to Robinson, the district’s decision to lower Saratoga’s asked-for contribution has left SHS sports programs with a $12,000 deficit.

As a result, the school is employing fewer assistant coaches this year, according to athletic director Tim Lugo. In addition, sports teams who wish to hold the same “lifestyle” as before have had to hold fundraisers in order to pay for items such as higher quality uniforms and equipment previously covered by the larger contribution.

The biggest concern so far has been paying for the cost of uniforms — about $15,000 a year for all sports — according to Lugo.

The boys’ and girls’ water polo teams are just some of the teams that have fundraised. Last year, each water polo team received $2,000 from the athletic fee, whereas this year each team received only $1,000.

However, Sports Boosters, a separate foundation that raises money to aid teams in acquiring necessities, has been helping teams such as water polo with their expenses and budget, according to Robinson. As a result, Robinson and the administration have expressed a lack of alarm about the athletic budget.

Sports Boosters has also helped in other projects around the school.

“[Sports Boosters has] contributed to redoing the weight room, they bought water polo more caps, and they've helped contribute to the Sports Plaza,” Robinson said.

On the other hand, the $225 contribution parents can make is what helps pay for coaches and helps with teams’ travel and uniform expenses.

According to Robinson, while the school controls the contributions, Lugo is the one who divides it among coaches. After getting Lugo’s approval, the coaches can then decide how the funds are spent.

Both the girls’ and boys’ water polo teams have reacted to the budget cuts by selling water bottles and T-shirts at school, as opposed to the less profitable tri-tip sandwiches the boys’ team has sold in the past to buy new cages, the goals used in water polo. Cages generally cost about $1,600, according to boys’ water polo coach Courtney Crase. The team also lacks money for equipment, such as balls and caps, which Sports Boosters is taking care of.

So far, the teams have raised $600 in two months, which is definitely something to be proud of,” Crase said.

The water polo teams have also been asking for donations. They have received donations from parents and DACA (De Anza Cupertino Aquatics).

Girls’ tennis, too, has seen their funds decreased and even boys’ tennis, which has yet to start until spring, has been affected.

Upon buying team sweatshirts,  the girls’ tennis team collected checks for the apparel ahead of time instead of using the team’s funds and paying them back as per the years before, as a result of a decrease in funds in the team’s account.

Sophomore Neeka Nikfar complained of flat tennis balls that were only replaced in the last days of the season.

For now, teams are trying to make do with less money or find ways to get more money with the help of Sports Boosters.

“I hope that people continue to purchase the water bottles,” Crase said. “It is important to stay hydrated, support Saratoga Athletics and look good while doing both.”

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