More funding for instruments, sports uniforms

Anoka-Hennepin District 11’s five-year capital budget plan sets aside more than $1 million dollars to replace high school athletic uniforms and musical instruments in the district.

Previously, with no funds earmarked to purchase athletic uniforms specifically, booster clubs have often covered their cost. But there is inequity in the amount of money particular schools and sports teams can raise, according to Jeff McGonigal, associate superintendent for high schools.

Anoka-Hennepin’s five-year capital budget plan increases the amount of money the district puts toward co-curricular activities. The district intends to increase its contributions for the purchase of athletic uniforms and new musical instruments, specifically. Submitted photo

Anoka-Hennepin’s five-year capital budget plan increases the amount of money the district puts toward co-curricular activities. The district intends to increase its contributions for the purchase of athletic uniforms and new musical instruments, specifically. Submitted photo

For example, to replace one football or hockey uniform costs $200, and teams typically have large rosters, according to a table McGonigal presented at a school board work session April 14. Conversely, tennis uniforms cost $45 each, and lineups have fewer athletes.

Responding to a request from the board, McGonigal brought forward a proposal that outlined a four-year rotation for high school athletic uniform purchasing.

The proposal suggests that approximately $26,000 go to each high school annually and recommends a 3 percent increase each year for inflation. In total, that amounts to $130,000 for the purchase of new uniforms each year, with possible increases annually.

In the first year, football, softball and some adapted soccer teams would receive new uniforms, according to the proposal.

McGonigal suggested a one-time catch-up that would allow all teams to be less than two years away from new uniforms, but the board wasn’t overly receptive, noting that some teams may have just purchased new uniforms.

Additionally, the amount of money spent on new musical instruments will increase.

In the past, $50,000 has been dedicated to the purchase of instruments each year. Elementary and secondary schools switched off, receiving the full amount of the funding every other year.

Now, elementary music departments will receive $25,000 annually, and secondary schools will get the full $50,000 every year.

The finances are available after decreasing the reserve contingency funds, according to Michelle Vargas, chief financial officer for the district.

Furthermore, approximately $400,000 from the fund balance will be spent on instruments in the coming months as a one-time “catch-up,” Vargas said, estimating that the district is four years behind in instrument purchasing. The money will allow a variety of instruments to be replaced quickly – everything from pianos to recorders to tubas.

Many students own their own instruments, McGonigal told the school board, but the school owns larger instruments and instruments that help fill out an ensemble.

For example, if a band was missing an oboist, the director might ask a clarinet player to learn the oboe. The student may not be able to afford the more expensive instrument, but the school could furnish the student with an oboe if there was one available, McGonigal explained.

“A lot of this is a long time coming,” School Board Member Bill Harvey said. “This is money we need to spend.”

He questioned whether more should be spent on band uniforms, but there is already a seven-year rotation in place, Vargas said.

Olivia Koester is at olivia.koester@ecm-inc.com

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