Public schools’ athletic
budget increase helps
The Department of Education
receives an additional $100,000
from the Legislature
Public schools across the state received more money from the Legislature for athletics this year.
The increase of $100,000 breaks down to $2,381 for each of the 42 Department of Education schools with athletic programs.
Dwight Toyama, the head of the Oahu Interscholastic Association who also handles budget matters for neighbor island public schools, is appreciative of the increase.
"This is needed money and it will be a big help," Toyama said. "But the schools still aren't really fully funded. They all have to do fund-raising to supplement (the state's athletic "supplies and equipment" allocation)."
The $100,000 increase for 2004-05 brings the allotment up to $852,135 from the $752,135 budgeted for 2003-04.
Over the years, increasing costs and expanding programs have made it more financially difficult for the public schools.
Toyama said higher transportation costs on the Big Island (where schools are located long distances from each other) and higher airfare contribute to the need for more funding.
"We used to be able to get round-trip fares for $100, but now we pay between $160 and $240," Toyama said.
McKinley athletic director Neal Takamori, who also represents the Athletic Directors and Coaches Association of Hawaii, is entrusted with communicating the need for more funds to the Legislature.
"Big schools used to have about 40 sports teams and now they've got over 50," said Takamori, who added that the state hasn't made an athletic budget increase in a long time. "We also are continuing to add more schools all the time, such as Kealakehe, Keaau, King Kekaulike and Kapolei."
The Legislature also approved funding for some additional trainers, according to Takamori.
"There's only one trainer per school and, at big schools, it's tough to service all of the kids playing sports," he said. "A few new trainer positions have been created, we just don't know where they'll be going, yet."