Fine Arts Should Create Boosters Club

Glossy new uniforms, brand new FieldTurf on the football fields, a new track, and abundant fundraising are all included in the Athletics department. However, peering into the art rooms, they hardly have a fresh paintbrush to their name; funding for different extracurricular or elective departments seems skewed. To many students, it seems as though the Athletics department gets ‘special treatment’, and that the fine arts and music departments are treated unfairly.

“The athletic department gets new uniforms, and people get to buy sweatpants and bags from them and that gives them [the department] more money, and it seems like everyone is ‘Sports, sports, sports’ and when it comes to art, it’s just a hobby,” junior Diana Iarussi said.

However, the school does not completely decide what the Athletics department does with its money. In fact, the Athletics department is not funded by Robinson; they have their own means to attaining funds. The Fine Arts Department, though, does not have any of this extra funding—only what they’re allotted from the budget, along with other departments, such as mathematics or social studies.

“Every department gets a budget, and out of our instructional funds that we get from the central office, we come up with a budget for every department. Now, the athletic department is separate, because they pretty much run independently from the school. They operate on receipts that they get from football gate receipts and fundraising that they do, and they get a lot of money from the athletic boosters,” Principal Dan Meier said.

A booster organization is a way of organizing, collecting, and counting donations that are given to a certain department by parents, the school, or even other organizations. However, not just any department can have a booster; there are specific guidelines.

“It has to be approved by the General County, and they have to follow certain guidelines and regulations, in terms of they have to be audited by a national audit company, they have to meet the Freedom of Information Act, like if you just wanted information about how say, the PTSA boosters are spending their money,” Elizabeth Spoone said. “The money that they collect needs to go and be funneled back into the school, whether that means buying stuff for the school versus giving money.”

What’s stopping the Fine Arts Department from trying to raise money for themselves? Although it requires some paperwork, the Fine Arts Department could create a boosters.

Since the funding of the main departments comes from the school, the budget is determined from the Superintendent’s office, along with the budget committee that creates the yearly budget. Schools receive a certain amount of money per student that attends the first week of school.

This does not include the withheld money for social studies basic materials and math basic materials.

The fine arts department receives $13.50 per student that attends the first week of school. The music department has their own boosters, known as the RBOPO. Although it may seem that the Athletics department is getting ‘special treatment’, their funding is entirely separate from the budget. The ‘skewed funding’ that many seem to believe exists at the school is, in fact, not reality.

There are many ways in which fine arts department could raise money. They could create a boosters organization for themselves or they could charge an admission for the Art Show in April—it doesn’t have to be much, perhaps three or four dollars. They could have a smaller art show earlier in the year with an admission as well, or an auction.

Although it may seem that the fine arts department is floundering while the Athletics department flourishes, the funding for the two is different. The athletics department has been taking care of itself financially, and with a lot of effort and hard work behind it. The fine arts department has many ways to raise money—for both the school, and the department itself, which will help all the aspiring artists taking the courses. All it takes is a little elbow grease.