Niagara Gazette — Consider that sports often count for less than 1 percent of total spending in local school districts. At Royalton-Hartland, it’s 0.93 percent and at Williamsville it’s 0.91 percent. Those with only a passing interest in budget details will say it’s “only 1 percent” and, therefore, that small investment should be made. But, what is “only 1 percent” in terms of dollars?
At Roy-Hart, it’s $206,000. Big money. At the far larger Williamsville school district it’s a jaw-dropping $1.5 million.
Let’s look at that impact in two ways. First, what will 1 percent buy the district? If the schools had to make a 1 percent cut and weigh academics versus athletics and athletics lost out, Roy-Hart would save the jobs of 4 teachers while Williamsville would save the jobs of 28 teachers (for the sake of this analysis I am using a $53,000 median wage which is between a starting point of $39,000 and a 25-year average of $67,000). Secondly, what would 1 percent save you?
Were 1 percent cut and allowed to go back into the economy, every man, woman and child in Roy-Hart would have an extra $23 per year. Williamsville residents would have $20 each to spend.
The quick retort from parents who have kids in school sports will be that spending should increase by 1 percent to make sure we have the sports. But, they must realize that this percentage point is one of just many; costs are going up for everything in this world (the inflation rate for 2012 is around 2 precent) and schools must also fund true necessities – like labor, supplies, utilities and facilities. Then, there’s the matter of the state’s 2 percent tax cap to contend with, which inhibits schools from spending as madly as they used to (although 2 percent every year is still maddening).
It’s also a fact that we have a graying population who live on fixed incomes (Social Security and small pensions) and can ill afford annual increases in school taxes of any size.