PICKENS COUNTY—High schools will no longer have to put up $15,000 for non-revenue sports equipment thanks to a school board decision last month.
The Pickens County School board recently voted to require all high schools to spend $15,000 on the equipment. The district would then match the school’s efforts, giving them an extra $15,000.
The requirements to receive a match changed at a recent school board meeting.
“We heard that there was a need for equipment so we said to the schools, ‘Once you spend $15,000 on non-revenue sports equipment, we’ll come in with another $15,000 on top of that,’” Saitta said. “We modified that last motion. High schools are going to have an option to spend up to $15,000 in non-revenue sports equipment in 2012-2013. They don’t have to spend the whole $15,000, and it is a dollar for dollar match.”
The board defined non-revenue sports equipment as anything that has to do with the play on the field. This includes baseball bats, track and field hurdles and more.
Board Trustee Judy Edwards said there has been a need in non-revenue sports across the county for some time now.
“Two years ago, we took the amount of money that was (slated) for non-revenue sports out of our budget,” Edwards said. “We have never returned it. Because of that, I felt like they needed some additional funds to be used for these particular sports.”
Edwards said she believes the schools should have the ultimate say in how the money is spent.
“I did not realize that we were saying that they had to spend all $15,000 before they got any money,” Edwards said. “I feel like these coaches should have some say in how this money is spent. It should be allocated in some way, in the school budget, to these particular sports, not just to be put into the general fund.”
Superintendent Kelly Pew said, during a recent meeting with high school officials, local schools had a few concerns.
“In my conversations with the Athletic Directors from the four schools, they talked specifically at Liberty and Pickens about the amount of money that was spent last year to open up their athletic facilities,” Pew said. “They also talked about the great expense of non-revenue sports traffic.”
A motion was not made to reimburse Pickens and Liberty for money spent on non-revenue sports equipment last year.
“The age old problem with non-revenue sports is that you’ve got revenue sports where the money comes in and they feel entitled to ownership of it,” Saitta said. “My advice is that I probably would spend the whole $15,000,” Saitta said. “Next year, that money will just flow right back to the general fund, so if you’ve got equipment needs, that’s what this money is for.”