Scoreboard funds better spent elsewhere

By Brittany Goodman, Features Editor

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How likely is it that a CHS student-athlete will go pro? Let’s just say most students should not depend on it as a career choice.  Professional sports today are so competitive that it is extremely unlikely for even one of CHS star players to get signed on a professional level.

Because of this, CHS players are students first and athletes second. Despite of this, there are 10 classrooms at CHS still in need of Promethean Boards, and some subjects in need of new textbooks. When CHS spends close to $80,000 on a new scoreboard, one wonders if money raised at CHS is being spent in ways that will benefit students the most.

Yes, teams and athletic events, especially football, raise an enormous amount of money through fundraising efforts and ticket sales, so teams should absolutely receive extra money. But teams are meeting these goals without a new scoreboard. Is the benefit of the fancy scoreboard really better than everything else we could spend it on?

If CHS athletes were primarily athletes rather than students, then maybe they would be referred to as “athlete students,” but “student athlete” is currently the name for anyone who partakes in team sports in high school.  They spend approximately six hours and 25 minutes in school compared to two hours practicing their sport a day.

According to a June 2012 Gazette report, Booster Club president Jim Edwards would have not considered buying this scoreboard if it did not have the digital advertising component. CHS sees the purchase of the scoreboard as an investment that will pay for itself through the sale of ads. The board will be used for the field that hosts the football, soccer and lacrosse teams.  Though advertising prices for the new board have not yet been determined, businesses currently pay $1,000 for a static banner that rotates during sporting events.

To the public eye, the new scoreboard is without a doubt visually stunning. But, the Booster Club’s strict athletic-focused spending is out of hand.

According to Athletic Director Dave Kelley, an all-school Booster Club would raise funding for all school needs, but CHS has an Athletic Booster Club which works to raise funds to support only the athletic department.

According to the June 2012 Gazette article, the booster club’s donations include $60,000 in field maintenance and improvements, $21,000 to renovate baseball and softball fields and $10,500 for athletic events and travel. Although this spending may be necessary for the general up keep of CHS athletics, the outragrous price of the new scoreboard cannot be justified.

Money would be far better spent on academic initiatives such as the Educational Foundation: an all-volunteer, community-based nonprofit organization.  It addresses a unique set of needs for teachers and students that are not funded by MCPS.  The Education Foundation focuses on teacher development, educational facility enhancements and student mentoring.

To be fair, it is not the responsibility of sports teams and the Booster Club to raise money for educational enhancements, but it would be good for the community and the teams’ athletes to offer a percentage of the money they raise; many of the athletes will not go on to play sports at the next level, but all will rely on their educations for the rest of their lives.