State legislation may hurt ASB, Lake Roosevelt sports budgets
Last updated 12/2/2020 at 9:17am
Lake Roosevelt High School’s Associated Student Body will lose revenue from restrictions imposed from a new state law.
House Bill 1660, which passed the state Legislature earlier this year and affects the current school year, will prevent schools from charging students who qualify for free or reduced lunches for ASB cards, as well as for admission into sports games.
Their guests over the age of 65 might also not have to pay admission into sports events, or would pay a reduced entry fee.
The bill aims to create more equity in schools, saying that student participation in after-school activities benefits them, and low income students deserve those same benefits.
At Lake Roosevelt, ASB cards sold to the student body at $30 apiece raised $7,770 in the 2019-2020 school year, similar to previous years.
Charging admission at the gate for games raised $9,274 in the fall, and $9,300 in the winter, for a total of $18,574.
Combined with the $7,770 in ASB card sales, that’s a total of $26,344 brought into the ASB by those two methods, both affected by HB1660.
Out of the district’s roughly 700 students, 74% are considered low income, according to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, while 51.5% are verified for free and reduced lunches.
Grand Coulee Dam School District Superintendent Paul Turner explained that the free-and-reduced meals percentage “is only taken from Direct Certified, Migrant and Foster student numbers. We are in the process of verifying families that don’t meet these three criteria but are low income. When verification is complete, expect the percentage to go up.”
Although the amount of future loss in ASB revenue is unknown, using the 2019-20 numbers, if the revenue from card and gate sales were cut by 74%, $19,494.56 would be lost.
If the revenue from card and gate sales were cut by 51.5%, $13,567.16 would be lost in ASB revenue.
While the district pays for coaches’ salaries, safety equipment, officials, and transportation, the ASB fund pays for things like new uniforms, new down markers, balls, nets, and other such equipment, according to Turner and Athletic Director Tim Rasmussen.
Turner said the issue will become a bigger discussion piece in the future and that with the school being primarily concerned with operating during COVID, and high school sports being delayed until Feb. 1, it hasn’t been looked at deeply yet in terms of finding solutions to make up the loss.
“We’ll have to get creative to offset the loss of revenue,” Rasmussen said, noting that LR is working with other schools in the area to minimize the impact of the bill.
The ASB’s total budget of roughly $150,000 also comes from concession sales as well as fundraising events and activities, such as LR COVID masks now being sold for $10 at the school.
In addition to certain athletic expenses, ASB money helps pay for after-school events, such as dances; expenses for clubs, such as the Future Business Leaders of America; senior trips; second semester reward trips for honor students; and Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association membership fees.