Education Funding

Athletic Budgets

By Vaishali Honawar — February 23, 2005 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Leaving no stone unturned in its effort to find money to improve schools, Arkansas asked districts to report how much they spent on athletics this past school year.

But the results of that first-ever effort, released in a report last month, were not as helpful as some had hoped.


Rep. Betty Pickett, a Democrat, sponsored the legislation, signed into law last year, that requires school districts to report annual spending on athletic activities.

“Arkansas just went through a court-ordered mandate to provide adequacy in our schools, and we are looking at new sources of funding,” Ms. Pickett said in an interview. “My bill was to determine exactly how much money was being spent on athletics.”

But the report, released Jan. 29 by the state education department, said that of the $2.7 billion spent from state and local funds during 2004, only $61 million—a little over 2 percent—went for sports.

Ms. Pickett attributed the low percentage to the fact that districts did not report expenses indirectly involved in athletic activities, such as the money paid for utilities and for facilities maintenance.

“At this particular point, the report is incomplete,” she said, adding she would next sit down with the education department to address reporting inconsistencies.

The lawmaker added that her original bill had sought a per-student cap on athletic spending, a provision that she could seek in the future.

Sports advocates said that the spending cap was not the mandate of the state supreme court order and warned against cutting money for athletics.

Lance Taylor, the deputy director of the Arkansas Activities Association, welcomed the figures in the education department report, but said it is unfair to require schools to report exactly how much they spend on athletics because the same facilities can be used for a variety of activities throughout the day. “It would be hard to say how much is spent on athletics, because they comprise just a small percentage of the activities,” Mr. Taylor said.

He added that the report refuted concerns that some school districts were spending nearly half their money on athletics, and he stressed the importance of not cutting funding for sports. “Children involved in extracurricular activities are less likely to drop out,” Mr. Taylor said.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the February 23, 2005 edition of Education Week


Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding A Court Ordered Billions for Education. Why Schools Might Not Get It Now
The North Carolina Supreme Court is considering arguments for overturning a statewide order for more school funding.
6 min read
A blue maze with a money bag at the end of the maze.
Education Funding Schools Want More Time to Spend COVID-19 Aid for Homeless Students
Senators want to give districts more time to spend COVID relief funds for students experiencing homelessness.
4 min read
New canvas school bags hanging on the backs of empty classroom student chairs in a large modern classroom
iStock/Getty Images
Education Funding ESSER Isn't the Only School Funding Relief That's Disappearing Soon
Federal relief aid, policies to prevent schools from losing enrollment-based funding, and support for vulnerable families are expiring soon.
10 min read
Vector illustration of a businessman's hand holding a slowly vanishing dollar sign.
Education Funding Schools Lost Ground on Funding in Recent Years. The Recovery Could Be Slow
School funding took a hit a few years ago. It might be some time before it recovers.
5 min read
Tight crop of a dollar bill puzzle missing one piece