The Knoxville Schools’ Athletics Budget was once again discussed in depth Monday night, with the school board eventually choosing to keep the budget at the same level it currently is (approximately $104,000).
The board reviewed a decision made in 2008 when issues with the athletics budget began to come into the limelight. At that time, the budget had a negative fund balance of over $250,000. The board committed to allocating $25,000 a year for 10 years from the general fund to the athletic fund.
However, it was around this time that economic troubles hit the country, and Knoxville Schools were not immune. After making only one $25,000 transfer to the general fund, the board did no others. Business Manager Craig Mobley said the issues with the athletics budget go back for decades.
“I don’t want people to think this is a brand new problem,” Mobley said. The issue has been brought to the forefront. Mobley believes the problem needs to be solved, as the negative fund balance is over the $250,000 figure from 2008.
The balance is negative, despite several expenditures for athletics coming from the general fund, outside of the figure set aside for athletics. Coaches’ salaries and other expenses have come from the general fund. Mobley did not have figures available before our deadline.
Determining what the athletics budget should be can be difficult. According to Mobley, just a few years ago, revenues from athletics were over $110,000. In the last fiscal year, that figure is around $90,000.
Board member Tim McDonald saw the loss that occurred this year. He is supportive of athletics and extra curricular activities, but wonders how much longer the district can continue to spend money when revenue is decreasing.
“Right now, I don’t think we can,” McDonald said. He respects how hard parents and students work to raise funds for their sports, but is concerned that they may not work as hard if their favorite sport does not directly benefit.