Revenue for sports budgets varies with school district

Around the state, the story generally is the same with high school athletic budgets: less funding for the school, more fundraising and higher athletic fees.

This coming school year, the School District 51 Board of Education transferred $20,000 to athletic operating costs. But that figure does not account for coaches salaries. The district pays 220 high school coaches salaries that total $774,423. That includes assistant coaches.

Also, the district’s athletic fee was raised to $140, up from $110 last season and $70 from the previous 20-plus years.

But revenue from a school district’s general fund that is transferred to a school’s athletic budget varies greatly, as does disbursement of that money.

Consider these examples from around the state:

■ The Jefferson County School District transfers $8.3 million from the district’s general fund to athletics. But unlike District 51, any revenue in terms of participation fees and gate revenue from games is deposited back into the district’s general fund. And the $8.3 million includes $1.2 million that is allotted to coaches salaries among 18 high schools.

The Jefferson County district also maintains four stadiums with the money.

“Still, most of our football programs end up fundraising between $20,000 and $30,000 in order to operate,” said Jim Thyfault, Jefferson County’s athletic director.

And for the first time in nine years, Thyfault said, the district is raising ticket prices $1 for all sports.

He hopes sports do not get cut.

“That’s where it’s headed if we don’t start passing bond issues and mill levies,” Thyfault said. “Sooner or later you’ve got to start cutting something.”

Jefferson County’s athletic fee is $150.

■ The Montrose County School District’s athletic fee two years ago was $50 with a $200 family cap. Last year, the figure jumped to $100 with no cap, and it will remain the same this upcoming season.

“Our guys are fundraising all the time, it seems like,” Olathe athletic director Joe Archuleta said. “Those guys have always got something going on to try and make a buck here or there.”

■ The Delta County School District’s athletic fee is $90 per sport with a $270 family cap. Three years ago, the fee rate jumped from $45 to $90.

■ The Greeley Public School District this fall will be in its third year of charging athletic participation fees. Its fee is $75.

“We were definitely one of the last districts to hold out and finally go to fees,” said Greeley West athletic director Jeff Cranson. “We have a small budget for athletics.”

Cranson said the schools receive about $2,000 per sport from the district’s general fund.

■ Pueblo District 70’s athletic fee is $80.

Pueblo County athletic director Cherie Toussaint said this will be the fourth year the district has charged that amount.

“It’s been 12 years since we started charging, and we charged $50 per sport (previously),” Toussaint said.


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