Fair or not, sports bring in more money than arts
January 24, 2012
After continued cuts in funding for budgets that support high school art programs nationwide, an important question has been raised in the minds of students: Do high schools devote a disproportionate amount of their focus and money to athletics? Opinions are split on this issue.
Regarding the extracurricular funding at Skyline High School, some students are outraged at the cuts made to the art program budget, complaining athletics get all of the money and attention. Although this seems unfair to students involved in art programs, athletics — specifically football — generate more school spirit, national attention and revenue for the school than art programs do.
The Spartan football legacy includes a state championship title this year and five additional state titles since 2000. Alumni like Jake Heaps and Kasen Williams, have earned Skyline national recognition. Supporting the team generates income via game ticket sales, concessions and spirit merchandise. Skyline, like many high schools in the country, relies on the success of its football and other sports teams for important funding.
Though no less important than athletics, high school art programs simply do not garner the same community interest sports do. Programs that are the most popular and profitable at a school deserve a larger budget, and it seems only fair for the art programs to receive a smaller share of the budget.
It is important to find creative ways to offer funding to many of the clubs and organizations at the high school level. Without the revenue generated from athletics, many other school programs may not be funded. In our current economy, most school programs will have to fight for their fair share of funding — but sports should not be viewed as the culprit for funding decisions.
Athletics and the arts both deserve attention
It is not uncommon for high schools to view their successful athletes as the rising stars of the student body.
Though in some cases that turns out to be the truth, there are a large number of students who do not get their chance to shine because they are not given the support they need. Athletics often overshadow the arts, even though they are of equal importance.
Year after year, several clubs and activities struggle to compete with strong athletic programs that are constantly in the public eye. Naturally, schools are more inclined to financially support activities that have numbers in their favor. The idea is that the more students involved, the more impact they can make. In other words, they can make more money.
Over the past few years, changes have been made. One example is Liberty’s theater program, which greatly benefitted from recent renovations to its theater space. Similarly, Skyline has been able to host more productions and unique events in the past two years, thanks to the installation of a smaller performance space called the Delphi Theatre.
There are so many more programs in our high schools that are small but mighty, and willing to work with the resources they’ve got. Balance in distributing funds in the schools is not always easy, but it is of utmost importance.