Letters to the editor for Nov. 23, 2010

Athletic program financing explained

First of all, let me take this opportunity to thank you for your support of the student athletes in the Camas School District. It has been a great fall and you have been there for our teams every step of the way. The support we get from our students, parents, boosters, community, staff and administration is outstanding and has been noticed with envy by many of our opponents. Thanks for all you do for our kids.

While I’ve got the pen, I’d also like to clarify some things pertaining to the management of our athletic program. During the last three years, we, like the rest of the district, have been hit by some significant budget cuts. Most district generated money we receive for athletics pays for personnel and transportation, and even that pot of money has been negatively impacted.

The other pot of money we use to fund our program is our ASB account. This money is a combination of our portion of ASB card receipts, the athletic user fee, gate receipts and fund raising. It funds, among other things, our district and state membership fees, facility rental expenses, custodial and contest management costs, officials, uniforms, equipment, and post-season expenses including meals, hotel rooms and transportation. With approximately 1,650 student athletes in our program annually, these costs can be significant. Given our inability to accurately forecast some of these expenses from year to year, such as post season costs, we monitor our budget closely.

Some facts about our program:

oNo prospective student athlete has ever been denied the opportunity to participate in our program because of an inability to buy an ASB card or pay the user fee.

oOur ticket prices for league events, which have not been raised since 2004, are set by the Greater St. Helen’s League.

oWe do offer a variety of family passes that reduce the cost of our regular season events significantly if you are a frequent attendee.

oWe also offer free senior citizen passes for Camas High School events.

oSchool districts determine whether or not they charge for certain events, usually based on where and when they play. We play all our JV soccer games in the stadium immediately prior to our varsity contests – thus we charge.

oWe were fortunate to play many of our post-season contests at home this year. However post-season events don’t belong to us – we merely host them. Ticket prices are set by the involved Districts and the WIAA. We make no money off the gate – we pay our game management expenses and then ship the remaining proceeds off to our league and/or district.

oThe posters of the senior players in the stadium were not purchased by the athletic department. They were temporarily donated by a company who wanted to use our stadium as a marketing platform. They will be returned to the company after the season and be available for purchase by our seniors. Other student athletes have expressed interest in having their picture done so they could purchase them as well.

oThe football inflatable also was not purchased with district generated funds. It was purchased by our football program through some of the funds they raised working at a fireworks stand during the summer two years ago. In exchange for all the hours the players and their parents worked, our coach gave them the opportunity to purchase something special for their program. The inflatable is the result of a job well done by a group of our student athletes and parents.

These facts do not address all facets of our athletic program, but they do explain how our program is financed, how our admission prices are set, where the ticket fees for certain events go and why we need the money we generate through our admissions. Our goal is a quality program for our student athletes. That program does not come without a cost.

On behalf of all our student athletes, thanks again to our loyal Papermaker fans for your continued support.

Terry Cavender, Athletic Director, Camas School District

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