Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Halfway is nice...but not good enough

In a surprise move Monday night, the district office announced during the school board's Finance Committee meeting that it was lowering the hockey fee increase from $350 ($200 => $550) down to $175 ($200=>$375).  From the bewildered looks of school board members in attendance, they had no clue.

Hockey fees reduced from $550 to $375!

Don't get us wrong, the reduction is nice, but it's not good enough. Clearly, the Powers That Be simply cut the fee increase in half.  Where was the data that drove that decision?  It sure looks like they got an earful about the increase and decided that cutting it 50% would make the issue go away.  Maybe for some...but not for us!  We need to stop pulling this crap out of our butts and start making sound, defensible, data-driven decisions.

We learned that the Athletics budget was re-instated from 90% to 100%. So that means Mr. McClowry will have more money (and thus need to lean less on hockey people).  What has NEVER been presented is the dollar amount represented by  10% of the athletic budget.  IT seems that the district is telling us that the cost of adding freshman boys and girls soccer plus $175 fee increase for hockey players adds up to 10% of the Athletic budget.  Sorry...we're not buying it.  This $175 reduction was clearly pulled out of somebody' get the idea.

We say that the hockey fees  MUST go back to $200 until such time as the district can deliver a complete accounting of revenues and expenses for ALL sports.  And that means the cost of field maintenance, transportation, uniforms and everything else.  Then the board needs to establish a clear policy that underscores the extent to which costs are to be recouped via fees.

For example...
let's say football "costs" a total of $100,000 per year
...and total revenues (gate receipts, WIAA reimbursements, etc.) total $50,000.
That means the net "cost" to the district/taxpayers is $50,000.
Then, let's say the board's policy is that fees must be assessed to recoup at least 25% of net costs incurred.
That would mean that football athletic fees must be set at a rate which will amount to $12,500.
Then...if we have 100 kids going out for football (we can use the prior year's real data), then $12,500 ÷ 100 = an athletic fee of $125.00

It's not that difficult people!  We need to change the way we do business.

What we find most interesting is that when the board voted to allow the fee increase it took mere hours to change the fees on the web site.  Now...fully 48 hours later, the website shows hockey fees at $550.  Hmmmm...Mr. McClowry isn't so quick when he doesn't get his way, is he?