RSS athletic programs face financial shortfalls due to canceled, delayed seasons

Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Carl Blankenship

SALISBURY — Athletic programs at local middle and high schools are looking at expenses that far outstrip balances and typical fundraising abilities due to COVID-19.

The programs are still facing expenses like field maintenance, insurance costs and association dues despite not being able to rely on major funding sources like ticket and concession sales. To help, the Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board of Education appropriated $229,000 at its Sept. 28 meeting to help athletic programs start the year. On Monday night, District Athletic Director Rick Vanhoy brought lists of projected expenses and the programs at each school as well as a list of revenues and expenses for the programs last year for the board to view.

There are major gaps between current balances at the schools and projected expenses for the school year, though projected expenses are lower than the previous year. No spring sports have been canceled.

Carson High School has a balance of about $26,500, with projected expenses of about $119,500. North Rowan has a balance of $12,075 and projected expenses of about $56,000.

Salisbury High School has a negative balance of about $14,000 and projected expenses of $73,967. The high school with the smallest gap is West Rowan with a balance of about $57,000 and projected expenses of $80,300.

Superintendent Lynn Moody said the balances include funding approved at the September meeting.

Middle schools have smaller gaps and significantly smaller budgets, but they are falling short as well.

Shortfalls are not unprecedented. Moody said Salisbury High has fallen short for years and the district has worked with the school. After the 2019-2020 year, every high school had greater expenses than revenues except for West Rowan, but every school except Salisbury ended with money leftover.

Southeast and China Grove middle schools took in more revenue than expenses last year.

Board member Josh Wagner criticized the board decision to fund the startup based on the limited information given to the board at the time.

“I greatly appreciate our A.D.s and our coaches,” Wagner said in an email to the Post after the discussion. “My concerns were based on what was relayed to us by administration, not by the information given to administration by them.”

Wagner said he would have voted to approve supplemental funding for athletics if he had more information at the time.

The request at the September meeting was only to provide some funding to help athletics get started, and Vanhoy said the funding was based on what programs said they would need.

Moody said the programs can not be compared apples-to-apples because their needs are different.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

email author More by Carl