On a per-student, per-season basis and before private donations are applied, New Canaan Public Schools projects next fiscal year to spend the most money among all sports on NCHS girls ice hockey ($2,264), followed by boys ice hockey ($2,094), girls gymnastics ($2,072), girls softball ($1,437) and girls golf ($1,311), according to district officials (see table below).
Within the total NCHS athletics program cost of $1.47 million for fiscal year 2018, the varsity football team at an estimated $154,993 by far would garner the highest percentage of spending for any single sport, according to the schools’ budget book. Football’s high participation (158 total athletes across four teams) drives that overall cost, as does its large combined coaching staff of 16—more than twice the next-closest sport (boys’ lacrosse, at seven), according to the data.
Overall, NCPS expects to spend about 23.7 percent more on combined boys’ sports versus girls’ sports next year—$589,875 versus $477,033, the data shows. On an average per-student basis, it expects to spend about 11 percent more overall on boys than girls, before shared costs and private contributions are considered, according to the district’s own data.
Officials in putting together the information “thought this was interesting to look at,” Dr. Jo-Ann Keating, the district’s director of finance and operations, told members of the Town Council during a regular meeting on March 15.
“We do invest heavily in our programs, they are very worthwhile programs,” Keating said at the meeting, held at Town Hall. “But it kind of dispels some myths we have heard over the years about how some sports cost a lot more than others and you can see somewhat of an equity between the various sports, not only of gender but between the various categories of sports.”
New Canaan High School— Athletics Spending**
|Sport||Projected Athletes||Total Spending||Per-Athlete|
**Encompasses projected spending of all NCHS sports at all levels
The comments came during a discussion of the Board of Education’s proposed operating budget for next year—already reduced by $1 million by the Board of Finance from an original request of $88.6 million.
With a large freshman class coming up and 875-plus students expected to play at least one sport next year, the school had sought to bring in a second contracted athletic trainer at $15,000 for the fall season. The current trainer during the most recent full academic year treated student athletes 5,605 times, according to the district—with 37 percent of those coming in the fall.
The total cost of running the NCHS athletic program, which includes administrators, trainers and club sports spending, is expected to be offset by $21,325 in gate receipts (the Turkey Bowl will be away) and $157,743 in outside support—mostly through the All Sports Booster Club (an estimated $125,000) and New Canaan Ice Hockey (about $35,000 to offset ice-time costs), according to the district.
Town Council Vice Chairman Steve Karl said he has firsthand experience with the Booster club and that he knows “how generous the donors are, especially among the parents and some of the businesses in town, that allow that money to be raised.”
“And it’s a very important part of what we do in the community, so really we need to keep thanking the people who are generous and donate, and we need to keep it up. And I think from a town spirit and school spirit standpoint, there is nothing we are more proud of than winning a state championship, it doesn’t matter what sport it is, we are always proud to see it.”