The lights flash on, a smattering of applause fills the tight silence. Two things can happen next, a team decked in red and black takes the field or the lead of the spring play takes center stage.
Athletics or the arts. Sweating or singing. Though both important in the school, should one be funded more than the other?
The Holliston High School budget allocates $390,781 to the athletics program and as of late February 2017, $383,584 has been used. The athletics program receives additional funds, with students paying $225 per season (winter, spring, and fall) to participate. This year, $233,294 was collected in student fees, making the total budget for the athletics program $624, 075.
Three of the most popular performing arts programs in the school are band, chorus and drama. The band and chorus share a budget of $1,000, a third of which they have used as of February. However, the year before, about $940 were used. The drama program has a budget of $950, and has used approximately two-thirds of it as of February.
Two-thirds of the budget is the most the drama club has used in the last four years. In the 2013-2014 school year, the club spent none of the budget. Last year, the club spent $54.75.
Interestingly, the band and chorus budget allows $602 for the purchase of music, and yet, none of that money has been used in the last four years, including the current school year. The school could put this unused money towards the drama, band or chorus program or other areas where the money is tight.
Occasionally, you hear kids involved in the arts complaining about how athletics gets a bigger budget. And yet, looking at the numbers, the drama club doesn’t need $600,000. More money is always good, but an equal budget seems unnecessary.
Arguably, it’s hard to do a lot with $950. However, if the club used nothing one year, it does beg the question how much a small budget is limiting them.
Approximately 30 students, including tech crew, are involved in this year’s spring play. It costs $100 per student per show (excluding the One Acts which are free) to participate in the drama program. That means, on top of the $950 listed, the drama program is getting $3,000 for each show.
That amount is still much less than the athletics budget, but drama is not limited to $950 for a whole year. The program is getting a few thousand dollars for each of the major productions.
The athletics program has 18 sports total for the whole year that are part of the budget. Each of those sports needs money to pay coaches, pay for transportation to and from games/meets, purchase medical supplies, uniforms, and maintain the field house, fields, and track. Not to mention, sports also need equipment to play the actual game, like balls and nets, which get worn out fairly quickly.
A lot does go into a production; with costumes, props, and lighting, it’s easy to see how the cost could quickly increase. However, that cost is not all pushed into that one budget.
It is recommended for students to use their own clothes in productions and many use their own makeup. The electricity used for the lights is part of the school’s electricity bill. The drama program is not running off of solely $950; they’re getting money specifically for whatever production they’re doing and students are using their own clothes.
Even though athletics has a lot of money, not everything used is brand new. Uniforms are reused most years, and when a varsity team gets a new uniform, they will pass their old uniforms down to a JV or freshman team.
$400,000 is a lot of money to put towards one activity, but that money is used efficiently to cover the needs of the athletic department, rather than being left untouched.
The HHS athletics program is a good one, and the money that is put towards it is used for things the athletic program needs. But the athletic budget doesn’t need any more funds, there are enough there already. The drama program doesn’t need more money either. The productions that are put on are incredible, and if there is a lack of money, it certainly doesn’t show on the stage. The One Acts, which students don’t need to pay for, are also done very well.
Both of these programs are very different and require different skills, but whichever one gets more money has nothing to do with which one is more successful. The budget is based off of what the program needs.
The HHS athletics program is an undeniably bigger program in terms of students involved. The sheer number of students explains why the budget is a great deal larger. The arts program is smaller, not any more or less important, but smaller, so less money is needed to keep it running.
In terms of money, the numbers are exactly where they should be.