As reported, Knoxville Schools saw a deficit between revenues and expenses in its athletics budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013. The district had issues with debt years ago, and are concerned about returning to such a problem.
"I don't know how to make revenues go up," Business Manager Craig Mobley told the board. He eventually said what Activities Director Randy Wilson had told the Journal-Express; people need to attend games and pay gate fees. Gate fees provide the athletics budget revenue.
In our story with Wilson (available in the July 12 Journal-Express and online at www.journalexpress.net), we reviewed the high cost of officials, and the numbers required, at every game. The lowest cost for an official, regardless of the sport is $65. Football officials charge $125, and five of them are required. Beyond that, Knoxville hosted only four home varsity football games this year, and one of them saw low ticket sales because of the weather. Football has traditionally been the largest revenue generator for the athletics budget.
The difference between revenues and expenses was $15,906.51. Revenues were $90,168.18 and expenses were $106,074.69. The athletics budget for the year was $104,863. Included in the expenses for the year was a new wrestling mat, which increased expenses by roughly $9,000 over the prior year. Board action was taken to approve the mat purchase.
Board member Tim McDonald said he believes the board needs to find a way to put controls in place to keep expenditures within the budget. He added that, while sports clubs seek donations throughout the year, people do not know how that money is used. These fund raisers are not included in the athletics budget. Mobley said the clubs are purchasing items they want.
"You're the business manager," McDonald said to Mobley. "Maybe you can come up with some kind of magic pill."
"The answer is, you've got to spend less," Mobley said. "You're really talking about ticket sales."
Student activity ticket sales were down for the year. McDonald questioned whether or not the district should lower the price of student activity tickets, to encourage more sales.
When the board initially tried to remedy the ongoing debt and deficits with the athletics budget, it agreed to provide $25,000 a year from the General Fund to help offset costs. Mobley said this was discontinued when former Gov. Chet Culver instituted a 10 percent across-the-board budget cut during his term.
The board accepted the athletics financial summary. It will continue to look for ways to keep the budget even and out of the red.