ASB explains Welcome Back Dance expenses

Students+gather+in+the+rally+court+on+a+Friday+night.+The+Welcome+Back+Dance+offered+games%2C+a+DJ%2C+food+and+other+forms+of+entertainment.+%0A%0APhoto+used+with+permission+of+Maya+Schwarz+and+Anella+Palacpac

Students gather in the rally court on a Friday night. The Welcome Back Dance offered games, a DJ, food and other forms of entertainment. Photo used with permission of Maya Schwarz and Anella Palacpac

Andrea Schlitt

After a busy first week of school, the Welcome Back dance was a way for students to relax and unwind. The neon lights and pounding music seemed to satisfy several hundred high school students. However, amidst the flashing colors and Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” playing in the background, there was one thought in the back of the students’ minds: why was the entrance fee twenty dollars?

Students gather in the rally court on a Friday night. The Welcome Back Dance offered games, a DJ, food and other forms of entertainment.  Photo used with permission of Maya Schwarz and Anella Palacpac
Students gather in the rally court on a Friday night. The Welcome Back Dance offered games, a DJ, food and other forms of entertainment. Photo used with permission of Maya Schwarz and Anella Palacpac

The fact is that what goes on behind the scenes of the dance isn’t visible to everyone, and that can lead to misunderstandings. In order to host a dance for over six hundred people, ASB had to collect enough money to buy all of the materials needed.

Breaking it down

Two years ago, the admission price for the Welcome Back Dance was raised to twenty dollars. According to ASB’s financial tech Calvin Wong, the sole reason for the price raise at the time was that ASB wanted to make the dances more entertaining by providing more than the traditional DJ and lights.

“It also makes the ASB card more valuable,” Wong said. “The first dance is free to actually give some perks back to students.”

With a new outlook on entertainment, there are a lot of components that go into a dance. The DJ, games, food, music and movies have to be arranged by ASB, and all of them cost money.

A look at the official record of the spendings for the dance offers clarity on how much money went into the different components of the dance.

Welcome Back Dance Spending (1)

“There are legitimate costs, and people always don’t see the people who are working in the back or organizing it and the other costs that are involved,” ASB treasurer senior Arpit Jasapara said. “We try to keep as much of [the dance] as free as possible, but in the end, we do need to at least break even so that we can sponsor other events.”

Student opinions

When the work ASB does behind the scenes is not known by the student body, there can be room for misunderstandings.

“The DJ and food weren’t worth the alleged costs,” sophomore Pragya Parthasarathy, a student who attended the dance without an ASB card said. “It seems excessive.”

Freshman Kylee Nazareno believes that all dances should be included in the purchase of an ASB card, not just the Welcome Back Dance.

On the other hand, sophomore Mritthika Harish understands that ASB needs to collect money from students.

“The dance itself wasn’t worth twenty dollars,” Harish said, “but I can see why the school makes students pay.”

Senior Natalie Thé, ASB’s IDC representative, sheds light on some of the thoughts that are circulating amongst students.

“Twenty dollars is a lot,” Thé said. “But [students] just don’t know what they’re getting out of it.”

Jasapara also adds that since raising the price because of the added forms of entertainment, Monta Vista has experienced a higher turnout at dances compared to the past and other schools.

Looking at responsibilities

Jasapara stated that ASB needs student support in order to host events on campus, including dances, rallies or talent shows, while still maintaining a reasonable balance of money. Although this is important as well, Wong explained that ASB is quite stable financially, regardless of the price raise for the dance admission.

“About five years ago, our surplus amount of dollars was really high, and schools shouldn’t really carry from year to year a large surplus,” Wong said.

Wong added that the money that is earned each year through ASB should ideally be spent on the four classes in that year. By doing this, they won’t be carrying a large sum of money that wasn’t spent that year over to the next year.

“It may sound like we’re losing money, but we’re financially sound,” Wong said.

Regardless of the event, the money that ASB spends must be approved through a process before it can be used to host events on campus. Leadership council and ASB advisor Mike White are both in charge of approving motions and events. Once ASB passes that stage, they must talk to Wong.

“There are a lots of safeties and checks and balances to prevent abuse of power or money, and make sure it goes to the right places, because it is the student’s money,” Jasapara said.

Thé added that ASB always weighs the pros and cons to see what benefits the people who attend events and also the school itself. She also wants the students to know that ASB is always open for suggestions.

“We always try to make it more than just a dance, and we always try to add more components to it,” Thé said. “We’re willing to listen, if students want something at a dance, we’ll take that into consideration.”