Answer: This decision was the result of a cost/benefit analysis.
The position put forward in your question is one that was put forward in our conversation when we set the price for sporting events. The total amount earned by ticket prices for all sporting events last year was approximately $16,000. It's true that a portion of this revenue will be lost by allowing students to attend at no cost. At least one board member said approximately the same thing you said in your question: We say we need money but eliminate a revenue source, and that's a contradiction.
The counter-argument has a couple of strong points (and was the winning argument at the board meeting where this was decided):
- We ask parents to spend money for all sorts of things in order for their children to attend B-P, things like school supplies, tissues for the classroom, etc. We took this position in an attempt to accommodate people who felt strongly that those who use the supplies should pay for them and not pass the expense on to taxpayers who do not have children attending the district's schools. These expenses are unpopular with many parents. Allowing students into events at no cost is a very inexpensive way for the district to alleviate some part of those expenses.
- School sporting events provide a safe and low-cost form of entertainment for students and families. Increased attendance does not increase the cost of the events, so the more in attendance, the better. School spirit and camaraderie among students increase through involvement in such events, too -- whether the student is a participant in the sport or a fan in the bleachers. By reducing the price of admission, we hope to encourage more attendance.
As for your comment, "...the district crying poverty and blaming the taxpayers for the youth commission and other organizations now having to pay a fee to use the facilities," communicating with one another via forums like Plain Talk can lead to misunderstandings because one cannot always pick up the "tone" of the writer. That being said, I think it's fair to say that you are assigning a position to "the district" that is a false one. Honestly communicating the financial position of the school district is a top-level obligation of the Board of Education. The reality is that we are enduring tough times and we try to be frank about it.
Requiring community groups to pay fees to use school facilities is a result of the laws governing contingency budgets in New York State. Residents voted down the proposed budget in May and, with the adoption of a contingent budget, we are required to charge for the use of facilities. It's really not a question of "blame" so much as a statement of fact. I don't recall an instance of such a comment from a school employee. Any employee who casts an aspersion at the voting public does so without the consent of the Board of Education. In all discourse about Broadalbin-Perth it is the strong desire of the board to maintain calm and rational conversations with all participants. Objective professionalism and courtesy on all sides will make difficult times easier.
- answered by Ed Szumowski, Board of Education President