The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

Sports team expenses

How the district, Monta Vista Athletic Boosters and ASB help fund the athletic department

The FUHSD Director of Administrative Services Jason Crutchfield grew up in an area consisting of small towns, with each town only having one high school. That means that every sports game was not just a competition between two high schools, but also the towns themselves. Crutchfield recalls how supportive the town’s community was toward his high school’s athletic program, noting that the town really only had high school sports teams — and a handful of  college teams — that it could watch. 

However, here in Silicon Valley, Crutchfield highlights the numerous professional and college sports teams, like Stanford University and the 49ers. Additionally, there are multiple high schools in close vicinity, and Crutchfield attributes the infinite options available for residents in Silicon Valley to the lack of support from the community around FUHSD’s athletic programs. 

Throughout the district, Crutchfield notes a decrease in adults and students coming to watch games, leading to a deficit in the income of sports teams as there are fewer sales from tickets and food. At MVHS specifically, Athletic Director Nick Bonacorsi has witnessed the decrease in support from the community through the shrinking size of Monta Vista Athletics Boosters (MVAB), which is a program run by parents in order to fund various Monta Vista sports. 

Bonacorsi says MVAB is a huge support for athletics and at the rate that it is declining, it may disappear, which would ultimately cause the athletic program to lose a huge portion of its funding. Therefore, Bonacorsi hopes that by educating parents about the impact of MVAB, more parents will join. 

“People aren’t joining boosters the way that they were 10 years ago,” Bonacorsi said. “I think people don’t necessarily understand what service boosters provide for sports [and] that that money does go right back to that team and that money has to be used on those players.”

Cross Country Head Coach Kirk Flatow adds that there are a lot of different ways to donate to MVAB and believes this may be confusing and frustrating to the parents, leading to fewer donations. Therefore, Flatow implemented a different method this year. Previously, parents could donate and choose from various methods to support the team, such as the $100 MVAB membership fee and donations that would be needed later on in the season. However, this year, Flatow decided to ask parents to donate once with $350, which would cover all the expenses in cross country.

“One of the things I’ve already learned in my [UPenn masters program in positive psychology] is [when] you offer too many choices, it’s confusing and frustrating to people,” Flatow said. “And so instead, we rolled everything all into one and people seem to react very well to that.”

Graphic | Michelle Zheng (Michelle Zheng)

However, even with the increase in donations from parents to each sports team, Bonacorsi notes that MVAB’s income is struggling to match their expenses, as inflation continues to increase costs. Combined with a shortage of referees, the Central Coast Section (CCS) has increased the cost by roughly 25%, asking for $64,000 a year to pay for the salaries of officials. Additionally, Bonacorsi says this cost will continue to increase by about 25% a year for the next three years. 

With an increase in cost each year, Bonacorsi works directly with MVAB to list their priorities and decide which requests can be put aside temporarily. Most equipment for non-contact sports only need to be replaced every 10 years and most uniforms are roughly on a five to seven year uniform cycle. However, for contact sports like football, the uniforms wear out after three to four years.

Especially for protective equipment, like football helmets, Crutchfield emphasizes the importance of spending money to maintain the quality of the helmets, as a defective helmet could potentially cost someone’s life. Crutchfield mentions that each year, schools get $8,000 from the district to send football helmets to a special company that certifies the quality of the helmets. If any helmet fails the test, the school and district will evenly split the cost of the helmet, which has increased from $250 to $600 per helmet in the last five to seven years

This year, Superintendent Graham Clark and other members of the District Board helped the schools by increasing the budget given to each school’s athletic program. The biggest change was their decision to cover 100% of the officials’ cost. Previously, the district paid each school $12,500 for officials and the Associated Student Body (ASB) and the athletic program had to cover the rest. This year, the district decided to pay the full price, which is around $64,000 per school. 

However, Crutchfield highlights that each school is given one general fund at the beginning of the year, and each school can decide what they spend the money on. Therefore, by allocating more money to athletic programs, Crutchfield says they have to take money out of another program or project.

“People forget there’s only one pool of money,” Crutchfield said. “So by us saying we’re going to pay for some of this out of district budgets, we have to take money away from [somewhere else]. You have got to take from one to get to the other, so there’s never just this, ‘Oh, we found 20 million dollars.’” 

With the changes this year, Crutchfield hopes this will free up more money for ASB and the athletic program to spend on other things for athletes. Flatow is hopeful, saying with the money ASB previously gave cross country and the district, the team would have disappeared, if not for the support of MVAB and parents. Ultimately, Crutchfield says the district will continue to find ways to increase its funds to the athletic department, as it finds value in the impact that sports have had on students. 

“We truly believe that athletics shaped so [many] of our lives,” Crutchfield said. “I’ve had students and athletes from 20 years ago that continue to come back to me and seek me out and tell me how athletics shaped their life, so we’re [going to] find ways to fund it. This is just a real small step to recognize how much the schools have to do through donations and parent volunteers and everything else.”

About the Contributors
Lily Jiang
Lily Jiang, Sports Editor
Lily is currently a junior and sports editor for El Estoque. In her free time, she enjoys playing her violin, binging shows and playing with her dog.
Michelle Zheng
Michelle Zheng, Managing Editor
Michelle is currently a senior and a managing editor for El Estoque. In her free time, she likes to try new restaurants and watch dramas.
More to Discover