New Canaan High School Per-Sport Spending [TABLE]

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**

 SportProjected AthletesTotal SpendingPer-Athlete
Cross Country56$20,962$374
Total Boys793$589,875
Cross Country49$21,307$435
Field Hockey87$43,581$501
Ice Hockey28$63,398$2,264
Total Girls712$477,033
*Source: New Canaan Public Schools
**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.”

18 thoughts on “New Canaan High School Per-Sport Spending [TABLE]

  1. Thank you very much for this. Is it possible to see similar tables for the various venues of the arts? Thank you in advance.

    • Rick, the information here on athletics comes directly from the district’s budget book. There’s also a section on visual & performing arts—you can find it here—though it does not include a comparable breakdown. The public schools are seeking about $500,000 in operating costs for next year for the arts. In terms of the town’s investment in the arts in the schools, I imagine you’d have to include the renovation of the auditorium at Saxe Middle School as part of it, as well as the expansion of the music rooms in that southwestern portion of the building.

      • Mike, aligning it with the renovating budget is a difficult comparison as much of what we see done on our fields is privatized. What I may venture to say in strictly a personal opinion, is success, perseverance and patience is as applicable to athletics as it is to the arts.
        I played sports. I do not even know Mozart’s first name nor his era. I do know that one needs to try regardless of their life path. If you do not try you are not getting there.

        • I also believe that one day each season sport teams should attend one rehearsal of a chapter of the arts program and the art students attend one athletic team practice. The wider the mindset the better off the student will be. Ideas and imagination can come from anywhere.

        • Rick it’s true that many very generous donors give privately to support maintenance and upgrades of playing fields, and the coordinated need for such is a large part of what gave rise to the New Canaan Athletic Foundation. It’s also true that we’re talking about public-private partnerships. The Town Council now is looking at a capital spending request of $3.8 million for fields alone for next fiscal year, approved by the Board of Finance. If I’m reading page 104 of this document correctly, $3.6 million of that is for the NCHS track and two turf fields, as well as the little league baseball fields at Mead.

  2. HOW about talking about the money wasted on town hall.I have 3 kids playing high school sports and have lived in town since 1998 and have never spent one minute in town hall.

  3. Michael
    Very informative! I agree with Kevin’s comments. New Canaan officials spent 20 Million on Irwin park and 15 Million on Town Hall! Now we are going to cut school budgets. Priorities need to be refocused on our children’s education not on Castles built for our First Selectman, and parks we can’t use for youth sports.
    Education is what brings people to New Canaan and our sports facilities should be the best in Connecticut. Why does Darien keep winning championship after championship? Look at their facilities

    • If we are truly going to focus on our “children’s education” then beating Darien and winning championships should not be a benchmark of that goal. Better metrics to judge education might be items like test scores,school rankings and the money actually spend on education, not extra curricular activities.
      Was not a fan of new town hall but in fairness the town is spending $18 million on new wing for the middle school and $3 million for a new lighted track and additional synthetic turf for Water Tower athletic fields. As far as Irwin note that there are 3 T Ball diamonds that every spring become the starting point for the New Canaan Youth baseball experience.

  4. Rich
    I agree with some of your educational comments but know many successful individuals who learned way more about the ups and downs of life on the athletic fields rather then in the classroom. If we limit education to books and classrooms we will have individuals with no common sence. Winning is a very important lesson for all as is defeat.
    Sports can make the person and is needed for every child who wants to participate.
    As far as Irwin park you are correct T ball is played there for a very short period of time each spring. The fields are a disgrace and dangerous for anyone to play on! This is the reason only T ball is played there. It was a waist of taxpayer dollars as was Town Hall.
    Invest in our kids in Schools, education, athletics and arts that’s the point.
    Not in parks we can’t use and Ivory towers we don’t need

    • James P
      It’s become a bit of a cliche but I do agree with you athletics can provide a valuable teaching lesson and should be available to every child in New Canaan who wants to participate. Based on the budgets shown above for the HS sports it seems like the town is providing that opportunity. As this years budget calls for $3.6 mil for new lighted track and fields upgrades it also seems like they are spending the money on facilities. Would add that it’s money better spent than on the $4 mil parking garage (Ivory tower II?) that was struck from budget.
      What else should the town be doing?

  5. Rich C
    The first thing they should do is remove the large tree that is in play in center field of Mead Park. How no one has been killed is a miracle and it is a complete joke. It is a shame that our High School players have to play on a field with a large tree in Center Field.
    2) We need more field space that is turfed just like Darien.
    3) New Canaan should have a field house

    I can continue but that would be my short list and if not for Town Hall and Irwin park out young athletes could have all this and more.
    I can only speak on athletics but I’m sure the arts departments are struggling for finances as well and deserve our support as well

    • That tree in centerfield is one of the great symbols of the town and kids have been playing baseball in its shadow for over 100 years. Nobody has yet died, and not sure how someone would die?
      The big field at Mead Park is a town treasure but that is lost on newcomers to town.
      We absolutely do not need more turf and certainly do not need an all-turf baseball field. The baseball field at Darien, while being useful a few days it rains, is a monstrosity and the biggest eye sore in the FCIAC.

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