Monday, September 21, 2009

Booster Clubs and Sports Funding

How are sports funded in DeKalb County schools? How do we compare in methods and budgets with other systems in metro Atlanta? How do we compare school by school - is the funding equitable? Why are some programs so much more successful than others? Is it due to Booster Clubs or just great coaching or a combination of reasons?

The information below was gleaned from the minutes of an Emory Lavista Parent Council meeting titled, "Our Schools – Funding the Extras". Some information may surprise you. For the complete minutes, visit this link at ELPC's website.

Booster Clubs – Faye Andresen
Several schools, such as Druid Hills HS, are forming an umbrella association for booster clubs. Some clubs are large with a lot of members, like Soccer and Band. Some are smaller like Baseball, which still has the expense of the field to deal with. Booster fees range from $200-500. Varsity cheerleading can be as high as $525-725. The clubs sponsor various fundraisers: citrus and cheesecake sales, banner sales, silent auction, and Birdies for Charity (DHHS Soccer).

Booster Policy - Randy Lee, Director Student Activities in Athletic Dept.
The DeKalb Co. Booster Policy is online. Requirements include: Constitution, Officers, Principal approval for fundraisers. The Superintendent may request an audit at any time. No staff member can hold office in a booster club. The Booster Policy addresses all student activities including athletics, band, chess, and academic teams. The Booster clubs provide the extras for student activities – trips, banquets, some championship tournament attendance. Increasingly, Athletic Associations are being formed to umbrella all the booster clubs in a school. The county rule is that an individual does not have to pay to play and often generous parents help out individuals/teams with financial needs.


Q. What happens when children don't pay?
A. The county recommends being as inclusive as possible. Parents and school officials need to work together to find compromises and get all parents involved.

Q. When is a Booster Club needed? Are they required?
A. There are no specific requirements or fundraising amounts related to needing a booster club.
A booster club may not even raise money. In the absence of a booster club, a parent may donate directly to the school designating what the contribution is to be used for.

Q. Do Boosters supplement Tournament participation?
A. Yes. Gate receipts fund football activities. Parent: But an activity like Cross Country, for example, has no gate receipts for funding.

Q. Is transportation provided by the county dependent on gate receipts?
A. Not sure. Gate receipts are the major source of revenue.


Ella Smith said...

Booster clubs as a topic is very interesting. As a past coach in Dekalb County the Booster Clubs were the life line of all extra-curricular programs. The county only pays for extreme basic expensive.

It is true that schools with active Booster Clubs and members, just like active PTAs receive a great deal more support than schools without these active groups. I have always felt this is one of the reasons many areas of Dekalb County feel other areas of Dekalb County receive more money from the county school system itself which is not the case. In fact the schools which receive the most money are Title I schools.

However, the appearance from the outside might look differently. In the past PTAs have even paid for Teachers.

I am also the V. President of the Boys Division of the Lakeside Soccer Boosters so I am involved in Booster Fund Raising. The Sports Teams need the money to function.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, there are booster clubs at Lakeside that push the coaches to accept more kids in order to increase the amount they can take in for fees. This creates a lot of kids on the bench. Have heard this happens with soccer--any truth to this, Ella?

fedupindcss said...

Booster clubs in DCSS have traditionally been pretty corrupt or poorly run. Money hasn't been tracked, and teachers/coaches used to collect it (which led to abuses). The system has urged clubs to form as individual non-profits, so the schools don't have to accept the money and have the bookkeeper keep track (another horror story for another blog). This only works if you have a large booster club, because of the costs.

I think DHHS formed an Athletic Association as an umbrella for the sports, which was brilliant. Lakeside could never do this, because the various parents in charge of each sport would get, well, pissy.

Paula Caldarella said...

Actually, there are very strict rules for booster clubs within DCSS. It's just that most schools do not abide by the rules and DCSS does not really enforce those rules that I can tell.

fedupindcss said...

They definitely don't. I think the office with oversight on this is actually run by someone who has a background in PR.

It is my understanding that the Board implemented these rules in response to a raft of money problems some time back. Based on what I have seen with the parent run ones, though, it isn't much better. Try to get a budget from one sometime...

Paula Caldarella said...

I'm the treasurer of the one of the booster clubs at my kids school. We worked really hard on our budget. I just assumed every other booster club did as well - guess I was wrong.

Anonymous said...

Booster Policy - Randy Lee, Director Student Activities in Athletic Dept.
The DeKalb Co. Booster Policy is online. Requirements include: Constitution, Officers, Principal approval for fundraisers. The Superintendent may request an audit at any time. No staff member can hold office in a booster club. The Booster Policy addresses all student activities including athletics, band, chess, and academic teams. The Booster clubs provide the extras for student activities – trips, banquets, some championship tournament attendance. Increasingly, Athletic Associations are being formed to umbrella all the booster clubs in a school. The county rule is that an individual does not have to pay to play and often generous parents help out individuals/teams with financial needs.


Before the Elaien Boyer mess, the DCSS Athletic Dept, ignored booster clubs and did not enforce any of its policies. Randy lee did not do his job and no one called him on it whether former diector Charlie Henderson (a former principal with no formal education in sports management or prior athletics/sports mgt. experience) or current director Ron Seebree.

Why does DCSS had thousands of pages of policies that they never ever enforce?????

Anonymous said...

Booster clubs is an area where Ron Ramsey's Office of Internal Affairs should be very prominent in. But once again, Ron is out to lunch, or out at the Gold Dome.

I have heard some incredibly stories of booster club shadiness, and I mean criminal shadiness. But Crawford Lewis, Bob Moseley, Marcus Turk, Ron Ramsey and Ron Seebree have a hear no evil, see no evil approach to booster clubs.

And some one mentioned it before, there are sme ver shady contracts with vendors by the DCSS Atheltcis Dept. It is still unbelievable to me that DCSS administratorsm including crawford lewis, allowed then BOE member Cassandra to see cheerleader uniforms and such to DCSS schools. No one involved has the ethics and morals we should expect that they have.

Anonymous said...

Head Of DeKalb School Board Investigated
Posted: 12:10 pm EDT May 18, 2006
Updated: 6:33 pm EDT May 19, 2006

ATLANTA -- Channel 2 Action News has learned that the head of the DeKalb County School Board sold sporting goods products to two DeKalb County schools. Those transactions appear to violate state law and the school board’s ethics policy. Superintendent Crawford Lewis is aware of the sales, but a spokesman says the system is not conducting an investigation. Channel 2’s Richard Belcher investigates.

At issue is about $3,800 worth of cheerleading uniforms and t-shirts sold by Littlejohn Sporting Goods. According to a statement by the cheerleading coach at Chamblee Middle School, the products were fairly priced and board chair Cassandra Anderson-Littlejohn insisted she had a legal right to do business with DeKalb County Schools – despite her position on the school board.

Cerebration said...

I remember that. When Cassandra Anderson-Littlejohn posed selling cheerleading uniforms to the principal at CMS it made for a very uncomfortable position for the principal. Add to that, the very public divorce between Cassandra Anderson-Littlejohn and her husband and then the fact that they both ran for school board (against each other - obviously she won) it was a crazy time.

Fast forward to now. We have The Sembler Corp funneling money to Elaine Boyer's newly created especially to take Sembler's $20,000 cheerleading booster club - along with board member Dr. Gene Walker - also a recipient of nearly $20,000 of Sembler money. Now Walker is in the position of voting whether or not to grant Sembler a $52 million tax abatement.

Makes cheerleading seem irrelevant.

Ella Smith said...

To my knowledge additional players are always kept on the JV Soccer Teams to build the Soccer Program at Lakeside. However, my husband has no say in the selection of the soccer team players. He is the trainer of the Varsity Boys' Team. The Teams are selected by the coaches of the teams.

Cerebration said...

What do you think of a Code of Conduct for participation in extra-curricular activities? They make students sign such a thing in my hometown in order to play any sport. Students are even required to take random drug tests and get kicked off the team for violations. Do you all think some of our communities could hold up such a high level of discipline and personal conduct? Or do you think that we are only feeding into the societal idea that it's each person for themselves/win at all costs/who cares how much you party after the game mentality?

Do you think DeKalb parents would agree to drug test their children?

Here's a sample quote from the document the kids sign in my hometown.

The privilege of participation carries the responsibility of adherence to the Co-Curricular Code of Conduct and Drug Testing Policy. Since the actions of student co-curricular participants (hereinafter “participants”) in school and community reflect upon the overall image of the institutions and activities they represent, as representatives of Schools, participants are expected to display exemplary conduct at all times, whether or not engaged in cocurricular activities.

Through participation in the student athletic program, students are provided an opportunity for education and character-building experiences. As well, conformance to this code and drug testing policy will promote the safety and welfare of participating students. The Board of Education desires to implement a policy that will attempt to provide this district with a safe and healthful student athletic program. This policy applies to all athletes from grade 7-12, those who are in competitive extracurricular activities and students who are approved for a high school parking permit.

The Co-Curricular Code of Conduct and Drug Testing Policy—developed by students, parents,
coaches, counselors, police and administrators—establishes the standards expected for participants in all co-curricular activities. Failure to conform to the Co-Curricular Code of Conduct and Drug Testing Policy will result in appropriate disciplinary action.

Kim Gokce said...

I know that booster clubs, etc., are notoriously rife with politics and even corruption. But in the absence of a rational way of managing athletics system-wide I'm not sure much would happen without these groups. It certainly doesn't happen at CKHS because no one has money and there's no such groups.

I can't help but want to find a way for these kids to have robust opportunities in athletics and other "extras" even though the community's parent support and resources just aren't there.

The programs at Cross Keys are bare bones at best and non-existent in too many cases. The coaches and teachers often pay out of pocket for what is needed for a child to participate. In the case of the very competitive soccer program, they do not have the funds for socks, goalie pants, and niceties like ice packs.

When you consider this was a #3 ranked team at State last year and only lost to Walker, the ultimate State Champ, it is very frustrating to see the state of equipment and facilities.

We have had a couple of neighbors here in HillsDale chip in for a club set of game balls and pop-up practice goals from the coach's wish list (CKHS Soccer Wishlist that will help the team this year. But with the zone being so dramatically poor, it will require business and civic groups to fill the gap normally filled by parents and booster clubs.

Until DCSS manages to rationalize, standardize, and manage athletics, I think it is "every man for himself."

Kim Gokce said...

@cerebration: "Do you think DeKalb parents would agree to drug test their children?"

Some would, yes, but I don't think it would gain sufficient support to get implemented and enforced.

As far as I know, the single biggest "drug" problem facing our teens is alcohol. There would certainly be little support for kicking those that abuse it off athletic and other co-curricular activities.

I'd support a very strict standard for getting access to all the extra opportunities in any case.

Cerebration said...

Alcohol counts. Especially if it involves driving or getting caught in any way. The kids lose their parking pass and their spot on the team. Believe me, they know the Board is serious and they are very careful not to break the rules. Discipline -- It really works!

As an aside to a point above -- Randy Lee (Head of DCSS Athletics - at least at the time of this ELPC meeting) is a former principal as well (Lakeside).

Anonymous said...

Randy Lee, a former principal of Lakeside, retired from the DCSS about two or three years ago. He was working for the Ga Department of Education. I am not sure if the still works there.

Kim Gokce said...

Well, if it includes alcohol abuse, I'm in. Otherwise, it doesn't seem serious to me. I would love to see the level of discipline expectations raised and enforced across the board. In my own experience as a teenager, I thrived under the most strict discipline and failed miserably under the most loose discipline.

Anonymous said...

Kim, ask just about any coach in the county no matter what side of town and many will tell you without PARENTAL & COMMUNITY SUPPORT--they would have nothing. DeKalb Athletics funds the bare minimum, Ron Sebree has even said we don't need good facilities to field good teams---WRONG!! Why does he think most of our good coaches leave DeKalb for greener pastures? As a football booster parent, I can tell you--you will have to beat the streets to get the $$$ money it takes. Parents pay dues--not so the child can take the field but so they can eat, have banquets, proper equipment, gatorade, extra helmets/shoulder pads so every kid that tries out can make the team. We've held Coca Cola sales, golf tournaments, sold ads, you name it we've tried it, unlike many of the schools in Gwinett, we are fighting amongst ourselves for corporate $$$. With stadiums they have a built in funding source, even if they field not so good teams.

fedupindcss said...

Forget about parents signing their kids on--you need to get coaches to go along. I know of way too many kids who got caught drinking at school events or (yes, this is true) show up hungover for actual games/matches/events, and the coaches look the other way if the kid is a good enough athlete.

One issue with booster clubs is that by raising these kind of extra funds, are you allowing the school system an out? I know they are strapped for things related to actual instruction, but are you giving them a release valve to ignore budgeting for this stuff in the first place?

And on that topic, Kim's point about CKHS shows the inherent inequity in this system; those schools with a wealthier booster base can use the money to hire extra coaches, trainers, equipment, that makes the game inherently unfair. I know, I know, life isn't fair--but it isn't these kids fault that the school system doesn't provide proper equipment, etc. Has the GHSA ever weighed in on this?

Ella Smith said...

That is an excellent question.

To work with any program as a coach/trainer if you are not a teacher you have to go through the training as a lay coach.

My husband only does what he does on a volunteer basis. It is not for the money. What he gets paid for the whole season he can make in one month as a select coach, so this is the reason it is difficult to get quality coaches in soccer to coach in the schools as assistant coaches. My husband does what he does because he graduated from Lakeside and because our son is on the team and he wants him to have good training.

Dekalb County Athletic Facilities are so far inferior to all other metro counties athletic facilities. Where did Dekalb Counties money go? To transport students across the country. Did we not get state and federal grants like other counties?

Dekalbparent said...

Ella - no, we didn't. There were grants out there but we forgot to apply.

Anonymous said...

Until DCSS manages to rationalize, standardize, and manage athletics, I think it is "every man for himself."


Well, here's a question: Why do we even have a DCSS Athletics Dept. which cost us millions in salaries, pensions, etc.? Why not just have an athletic director at each school responsible for that school's teams? The AD and booster club will have to do a lot of work, but taxpayer save millions. The one caveat to this is each school would have to have its own stadium.

But really, think about it. Most school systems up north don't have a system wide AD and athletics dept. Each school is on its own.
That's the way we should go in DeKalb. Bye, bye Ron.

Anonymous said...

DCSS has some serious Title IX issues. The Athletics Dept. only want to pay for one umpire for girls softball JV games, but Seebree and crew would never think of only having one umpire for boys JV baseball. They have some high school varsity and JV softball teams playing on horrendous facilities 45 minutes away from their school. Hey Ron Seebree, WTF were you thinking with having Chamblee Softball playing game at the SE DeKalb Athletic Complex, where they can't even use the lights?

If the parents and players of some DCSS high school girls teams ever got a good lawyer and pushed the Title IX disparities, they would easily win their court cases.

DCSS Athletics is a joke.

Ella Smith said...

It really is not a Title IX issue in itself. Yes there are Title IX issues. However, it is the lack of grants that the county pursued to get money to put into the facitilities that makes the problems. We do not have facilities for the sports teams we have. We do not have adequate practice space.

I agree a local AD and local field would be nice but Dekalb County High Schools do not have the room for a local field. The schools do not have adequate parking spaces. The long term planning was non-existant years ago in the planning department.

Anonymous said...

DCSS is full of blank when it comes to their field usage policy. The Concorde Fire, has used Montgomery Elementary for a long time. The play games on it, and dishonestly call them "friendlies" to comply with the DCSS no games policy.

There are many departments in DCSS that need a regime change, and Athletics might be No.1 on the list. it could not be more unimpressive and political than it is now.

Anonymous said...

Another reason why DeKalb County needs to be investigated and looked at with a very watchful eye.

This coming from someone who doesn't like to sweat.

Anonymous said...

A developer who made numerous contributions to DeKalb politicians makes an unheard of $20,000 donation to a DCSS booster club, and the DCSS Athletic Dept. didn't blink any eye. As someone who's worked with them, I can say that DCSS Athletics is a hot steaming mess.

Cerebration said...

I'm not really into sports, but stories like the one below make me realize the capacity team sports have to impact a young person's character...

Thamail Morgan took the kickoff and headed up the field.
He was at the 20 ... 30 ... 40

He had been avoiding, dodging or just simply running through tacklers on the way. Football always had come easily for Morgan. This game was no different. By the time he hit midfield, only open space was ahead of him. The two-time Arkansas all-state selection was headed for a touchdown.

40 ... 30 ... 20

He glanced at the clock and saw the final seconds ticking away. He realized his team, Cave City, was on the way to a victory over Yellville-Summit, comfortably ahead, 34-16. He also realized two other things: This wasn't an ordinary game. And he wasn't the same Thamail Morgan.

When he reached the 2, he stopped. He took a few steps back and took a knee at the 5-yard line.


Follow the link to the rest of the story -

Kim Gokce said...

Coming from a kid that was the president of my high school chess club, let me tell you that I care deeply about our schools' athletic programs. I would like to see more of them so that even more young people can find a niche sport in which to participate.

Even this chess club pres would have had a better shot of participating if we had soccer or lacrosse programs back in the 70's - after being cut from the 8th grade b-ball team so a fb lineman could train year 'round, I gave up.

What a story - these are the kinds of opportunities for growth and maturity that athletics provides every day in American schools. I will pass this along to the athletic director at Cross Keys High School. His focus this year is on sportsmanship and this is about as dramatic of an example as any of us will ever hear about. Thanks for sharing it.

Cerebration said...

This was sent to us in an email today - a response to questions raised in Oct, 2007 at the ELPC meeting regarding sports funding:

From: ""
Sent: Thursday, October 4, 2007 11:21:25 AM
Subject: Athletic Department Response to ELPC Questions

Athletic Department Response to questions raised in ELPC's April '07 meeting concerning Athletic Department's responsibilities

FROM: Ron Sebree
RE: Expenditures/Items Purchased for Athletics and Activities
DATE: September 27, 2007

Expenditures and/or purchases for the Department of Athletics are incurred in three different categories: annually, every three years for our 19 high schools, and every four years for our 20 middle schools. They are listed as follows:


-Region Dues for each high school
-Security at all events for high schools, middle schools, and stadiums
-Meals and housing for Region and State competitions
-Wages/compensation for stadium managers, assistant managers, ticket sellers, ticket takers, scoreboard operators, PA announcers, camera operators, metal detectors, and gate workers
-Athletic trainers for stadium events
-Ambulances for football games
-Instructional materials (ex: GHSA policies and procedures, athletic manuals and directories for all high schools, rule books for all sports
-First-aid kits and supplies (ex: tape for wrapping) for high schools and middle schools
-Awards and t-shirts for county sponsored events and meets
-Letters and pins for high schools
-Professional travel for local and out-of-state professional development


Baseball – uniforms, helmets, baseballs, bats, bases, catchers' uniforms, scorebooks, ball dry
* Basketball – uniforms, nets, goals, practice shirts, practice pants
Competitive Cheerleading – uniforms every three years
Cross Country – 24 uniforms shared with track
* Football – field equipment for stadiums and schools, uniforms, new helmets and shoulder pads, reconditioned helmets and shoulder pads, knee pads, thigh pads, girdle pants, practice pants and jerseys, footballs, mouth guards, repair kits
Golf – green fees and golf balls
Gymnastics – uniforms and equipment
Soccer – uniforms, balls, flags, cones, nets
Softball – uniforms, practice uniforms, helmets, bats, balls, bases

to be continued below

Cerebration said...


· Tennis – tennis balls
· * Track and Field – uniforms, warm-ups for high schools, hurdles for schools and stadiums, starter pistols, tape measures, field equipment
· Volleyball – uniforms, nets, volleyballs, foul poles, standards
· Wrestling – singlets, warm-ups, mats, reconditioned mats, mat cleaner, mat tape, chalk-dust, scorebooks

* Denotes both middle and high school sports or activities

Bob Moseley shared that a handbook of operations, promised by Dr. Lewis, will be completed and implemented by the summer of '08. The promise of these written guidelines is the result of an in-house fiscal audit. The Athletic Department is one of only two independent fiscal operations (Food Service) within the school system.

Taking the audit into consideration, these are items ELPC hopes the handbook will include:

-Procedures requiring gate receipts be reconciled with tickets sold
-Requirement that official numbered receipt books be used by employees
-A best practices book-keeping and accounting system will be put in place
-RFPs are properly vetted prior to release
-RFPs will be timed to encourage maximum number of private bidders
-Contracts are awarded to lowest bidder in a proper business-like manner
-Procedures for employees to maintain up-to-date time records
-Proper equipment inventory and storage
-An organized, documented system of equipment distribution
-A better system of communication with individual schools and booster clubs to educate the parents and other school employees as to the responsibilities and organization of the Athletic Department


Emory Lavista Parent Council

Terracer Earnest, Co-President
Faye Andresen, Co-President
Roxanne Brown, Vice President
Polly Wills, Recording Secretary
Donna Toulme, Corresponding Secretary
Karen Zeliff, Community Relations

Cerebration said...

Did you get that, Kim?

Soccer – uniforms, balls, flags, cones, nets - on a 3-4 year rotation for high schools

When you ask for that - be sure to ask for a copy of the handbook of operations, promised by Dr. Lewis, that was supposed to be completed and implemented by the summer of '08.

Kim Gokce said...

lol ... you are a hoot! Well, CKHS may have received new nets within the past four years but the goals are cast iron and about 30 years old.

It is interesting reading. In the case of CKHS, the word is they get treated fairly by Sebree, etal. As with other areas, the shortcomings are most glaring in capital facilities.

The item that got my attention was "balls" (this is a family show) ... I just delivered an Adidas club set for the program on Saturday and they are still looking for 20 practice balls. I'll have to investigate more deeply why this need wouldn't be met by Athletic/Sebree.

Anonymous said...

Kim, the soccer training balls on the CKHS wish list are no longer available on that site. Do you know where else they could be carried? Perhaps Sports Authority?

Anonymous said...

"-Wages/compensation for stadium managers, assistant managers, ticket sellers, ticket takers, scoreboard operators, PA announcers, camera operators, metal detectors, and gate workers"

This is freaking crazy stuff. There is absoltely no need to charge admission for JV games of any sport, let alone pay all these staff members. I've been to DCSS JV soccer games with double the amount of staff as people in the stands. Why do we need to pay a "scoreboard operator"??? Why can't this be a parent or even a high school student volunteer? We need gate workers and ticket takers?

Look at how efficiently the private schools run their events. The have boster clubs and parent volunteers, and have little to no overhead for home games.

DCSS Athletics flies under the radar. No one from the incredibly bloated DCSS Central Office would ever think of auditing Athletics and also comparing them with other school systems. Best practices? not with DCSS Athletics. It's a joke, they waste our money, and no one cares.

Kim Gokce said...

@Anon 7:15: "Do you know where else they could be carried? Perhaps Sports Authority?"

The online vendor had a sku# change. The coach has updated the list with the new sku# and you should be able to order.

On the question of new ball rotation, they are provided by DCSS but are of poor quality and do not last 1 season much less 4 years. So, I think for soccer programs it is a case of they are taken care of on paper but not in practice (pun intended).

Ella: Does Lakeside have boosters provide balls for soccer or do they rely on the DCSS-provided balls?

Our soccer coaches feel they are treated fairly over all but recognize that DCSS doesn't know soccer equipment and therefore all soccer programs come up a bit short in this regard. A case where CKHS seems to be in the same boat as everyone else - a small comfort! :)

Kim Gokce said...

@Anonymous 7:15 ... By the way ... THANK YOU! Sorry about that oversight! :)

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that an audit of the athletic department was done and its results were not favorable.

Someone ought to ask for it and if the system isn't forthcoming, same person ought to file an Open Records request.

themommy said...

I subscribe to the GA High School football daily... I thought you might like the tidbit from yesterday's email (the Subject was most surprising scores from this past weekend.) Marist v Tucker was included on this list but this is what I liked...

Avondale 14, Blessed Trinity 7: Through 1989, the school's last winning season, Avondale was a state power. In the past few years, some alumni primarily from the 1960s and 1970s have adopted the modern football program, which was not only losing on the field but had no money to raise itself up. The efforts are beginning to pay off, apparently. This is an upset that no one could fathom in preseason. Blessed Trinity was one of only two teams to come within 21 points of beating Buford during the Wolves' 32-game winning streak. The Blessed Trinity team that lost to Buford 14-10 last year also beat Avondale 62-13. In last week's game, Avondale got the break it has needed for a couple of decades when, leading 6-0, Blessed Trinity was charged with a safety when a snap went out of the end zone. Joshua Bowen returned the ensuing free kick 70 yards for a touchdown for a 14-0 lead. Avondale is 3-1 for the first time since 1989.

Cerebration said...

Awesome! That's what it takes - community support. These kids need to know that the adults in their lives and their communities care about them!

Thanks for sharing that story, themommy!

themommy said...


I thought it was awesome as well. I am a bit of a high school football junkie and for the last few weeks I have been hearing tidbits about Avondale's surprising performance on several of the local news stations high school sports coverage.

Nice to know the back story, now!

Cerebration said...

This is doubly good because if I recall correctly, the football coach at Avondale addressed the Board of Education (twice?) asking for a place for his players to work out. Seems the team has been relegated to a trailer (I think) and have nowhere to dress out.

Another example of inequity due to the magnet budget-eaters. The team was displaced due to the construction required to merge DSA into Avondale. ($10 million for DSA - trailers for Avondale.)

Hopefully, this has been fixed.

Paula Caldarella said...

You're right cere, I remember watching that board meeting. And it's a shame that the movement of the DSA would cause such an upheaval to students that have already been in that building.

Kim Gokce said...

I love underdogs and comeback stories! Avondale was a big rivalry with Lynwood School in Brookhaven back in "separate but equal days." Good to see the community rally!

Cross Keys ended the states second longest active losing via forfeit ruling on their previous loss of Aug 28 to North Springs. Not romantic, but it's a "W" :)

John Heneghan said...

AJC Article - October 16, 2009 titled DeKalb high schools must share sports wealth.

Anonymous said...

The DCSS Athletic Dept. has had some very questionable contracts with companies to "run" games at the stadiums. The BOE never ever investigates and questions such contracys. The BOE should clear have an athletics sub-committee, and the Athletics Dept. should be forensically audited evry two years. A personnel audit is also needed.

Cerebration said...

Interesting article, John. Hopefully the teams at MLK and Stephenson understand that while they might have to share the money they take in from their big sports programs, they don't have to share their books, Smart Boards, clean, gleaming buildings, restrooms, auditoriums or band equipment with Cross Keys. I say - ask the coach to bring these teams to Cross Keys for a tour and maybe it will develop some empathy!

Kim Gokce said...

I enjoyed the article this morning especially after attending CKHS homecoming game vs Blessed Trinity at Adams Stadium last night. The contrasts are indeed stark - not just between public vs private or even top competitors like Tucker - but even between The Keys and Druid Hills HS that was in the second game. Forget the football teams' uniforms and equipment, the cheer teams, the bands and evn the ROTC kids' were equipped from diiferent planets.the revenue sharing that goes on doesn't come close to leveling things up for the kids so I am pretty sure the mlk coach is either out of touch or simply uninterested. The stephenson coach is to be appluaded for recognizing the reality in nonKcompetitive programs. If we were running aleague for pure competition, I'd understand the beef at places like mlk. But I thought our athletics were an extension of the scholhouse and about developing our youth. Silly me!

Anonymous said...

DHHS has the distinct advantage of an umbrella athletic foundation, as well as parents who are able to shell out for those uniforms (cheerleaders, band, ROTC). They can also vigorously push spirit wear (more money directly to athletic teams).

The families that could provide this for CKHS are sending their kids to private schools...

I suspect this applies to Avondale as well. Thank goodness they have that terrific advocate who speaks at every BOE meeting. He sounds like a voice crying out in the wilderness.

This is the difference, It underscores everything Kim, Ella and Cere keep bringing to our attention. Now, if only the attention of the county in general and the BOE in particular could be gotten and held.

Anonymous said...

"The families that could provide this for CKHS are sending their kids to private schools..."

If the BOE replaced the current Cross Keys dungeon, er facility, with a carbon copy of the new Arabia Mt. High, a lot of those families in the greater Brookhaven area that send their children to private schools would look seriously at Cross Keys, and bring with it some of the resources and parent participation that school desperately needs.

Cerebration said...

Like they will EVER do that! They don't even think this school needs a new track or an auditorium. I truly don't get the sheer animosity toward the Cross Keys community. It's either that they had a plan to let it crumble and sell the land out from under the non-vocal Latinos -- or they are truly prejudiced against them.

Anonymous said...

As a former employee in Dekalb County, in the past before the state or U.S. government changed the laws about selling food, soft drinks, candy etc from vending machines or after school in a concession stand cause kids were becoming obese from to much sugar, athletic teams could raise much of the money it needed to support its program. But the government took that avenue away from schools. All the vending machines now must have nutrital food and drinks. Well if the government would put back in the requirement that students must take PE back in the currilum and get some exercise or kids would join some athletic program and get active, maybe we could lower that problem. My being able to have vending machine etc in schools allowed schools to bring supplies for teachers and its athletic programs. Now schols have to rely on grants, or donations to get money for their schools. sometimes the old way was the best way.

themommy said...

City of Atlanta has the same revenue sharing scenario as DeKalb, but in the last few years they have been scaling back expensive programs at schools that struggle to support them. They don't have cheerleaders for every school, marching bands/dance teams at every school and I am not at all certain that every school has the same sports programs.

There is absolutely no way to make up for involved parents. In Fulton County, where each school has its own stadium, the two schools playing that night split the revenue. On top of that, the schools run the concession stand. At Northview High School, the Arts Alliance from Northview runs the stand and gets the profits for the Arts programs at their high school.

In DeKalb, for years, parents have asked to run the concession stands to support our football programs. We have consistently been told no. Off the record, we are told that there are several high schools in DeKalb that couldn't field the volunteers. What a shame. I am certain that the company that runs the concessions has some connection with someone. However, I am equally certain that there are schools in DeKalb that couldn't pull off this.

themommy said...

In fairness, I need to add, that the COA schools have a ton of choices in high school now. So, if a kid wants to cheer, they can find a school that has the program.

Cerebration said...

Hey! Great idea! In addition to making AYP, we could have some kind of sports achievement bar that schools must meet. If they don't, then students should be allowed to transfer to another school that does have good sports programs so that everyone can have access!

themommy said...

Perhaps. My children attend(ed) a DeKalb County high school that has won more than its fair share of regional and state championships.

Keep in mind that lack of resources aren't the only reason that schools like CK and Clarkston have such a hard time winning football games. If you have a kid who is a great athlete and you are a renter, you better believe that you will seek out the strongest program you can find in the school district you can afford. If you think your child might be able to get an athletic scholarship you look for the program that offers the best opportunity for positive exposure.

Kim Gokce said...

@Cerebration: "It's either that they had a plan to let it crumble and sell the land out from under the non-vocal Latinos -- or they are truly prejudiced against them."

My understanding is that Cross Keys has not had any significant renovations since the early seventies.

Early and mid- seventies, it was a majority white school. For a period following that, it was a highly mixed white/black school. Later, a majority black school and now a majority immigrant school since the mid-/late nineties.

Alumni from the eighties that I have chatted with indicated that CKHS was already "looked down upon" in the broader DeKalb community then and that things were bad but not as bad as now in terms of facilities, etc.

As far as I can tell, Cross Keys has been a under-resourced school for more than 25 years and has never had a particularly "wealthy" or politically influential demographic. The loss of Ashford Park ES in 1998, and therefore the majority of Brookhaven, pretty much sealed the deal in terms of having a "power base."

That's why a small group of supporters are looking for an alternative base of support from non-traditional sources. There is no real choice for CKHS in the current environment. It is a daunting task to undertake under these circumstances but what choice do we have, really? Walking away is not acceptable.

Kim Gokce said...

@Anonymous: "...a lot of those families in the greater Brookhaven area that send their children to private schools would look seriously at Cross Keys, ..."

I like the idea but "those families" are no longer inside the Cross Keys attendance zone so the only way they would have a choice would be through a magnet program of some sort. CKHS is really in the ultimate Catch 22.

Kim Gokce said...

@themommy: "If you think your child might be able to get an athletic scholarship you look for the program that offers the best opportunity for positive exposure."

You are exactly right but these are the exceptional cases. My concern is for the average high school athlete who simply wants a chance to participate in a program. The 50 year history of football at CKHS has achieved no better than a .280 winning percentage ... half a century and only 3 or 4 winning seasons.

At schools like CKHS, just keeping core programs operating is in question. I am not particularly concerned that CKHS football team lost their homecoming game to Blessed Trinity 55-0 or having only a single win in something like 30 tries (and that one was a forfeit). No, I am concerned that the programs stay active.

I think communities that have the resources to fund powerhouse football programs should be applauded for there efforts - love the competition and it makes great theater and a stage for college prospects. However, I would like to see a more firm foundation under a broader range of programs at all schools.

For example, CKHS has had an incredibly competitive soccer program for a number of years. But, since this is not a "money-maker" program it brings little to the school in terms of funding/revenues or public kudos.

I guess it is more important to me that more students participate in more types of sports, particularly team sports, than it is for the "premier" football programs to thrive and bring in $$$.

I noted this year that at least some Gwinnett High Schools are gearing up to offer Lacrosse programs ... how can they manage to do that? I'm rambling - I just have to believe we can do better in these areas in DeKalb for all schools whether they ever make ESPN or not.

Anonymous said...

Kim has a point about soccer. In DeKalb athletics, football and football coaches have the most say and "juice". Basketball is a close second, and every other sport is a distant third. There is some kind of advisory board for DCSS athletics, and it's all football people who could give a darn about anything other than football and basketball. The politics of DCSS athletics are very real and very brutal.


"In DeKalb, for years, parents have asked to run the concession stands to support our football programs. We have consistently been told no. Off the record, we are told that there are several high schools in DeKalb that couldn't field the volunteers. What a shame. I am certain that the company that runs the concessions has some connection with someone."

I know from deep inside DCSS source that the reason why parents can't run the concession stands and manage the gate is purely because the superintendent and a few administrators make sure these local companies get the contract. It has nothing to do with the fact thata few schools might not be able to fully staff a concession stand. And that's a falacy. Even Cross Keys could staff a concession stand for a handful of football games.

Stan Watson, a former state rep., Leadership DeKalb alum (of course), and friend of Crawford's, was a part-owner for a company purely made-up for the concession and game management contract. When Stan ran for CEO, he made sure he sold his share in the company, because he and his campaign knew the company wouldn't hold up to any scrutiny from the rival Burrell Ellis campaign.

I would love to see a copy of those contracts. I believe it's two of three companies that have the game management and concession contracts, and something about them and the contracts stinks to high heaven!

Cerebration said...

Oh yes, these guys are all a bunch of tight-knit old friends. I remember just after Walker won his seat - and the Sembler donations were just discovered, he was a guest on the Stan Watson show. Here is the review of that show I posted at the time --

Stan: "Sit down, my good, old friend. Tell us all about your two different jobs."

Eugene: "Well, we're implementing a dress code in the schools and that's going to make everything better."

Stan: "So tell us all about your troubles with the Semblers and I won't interrupt you or ask you a single tough question."

Eugene: "Wah, wah, nobody understands what we're trying to do here - we're SAVING Brookhaven. These people against us are all just anti-development."

Stan: "I know. I know. There, there, my good friend, now go and take a nice nap."

Paula Caldarella said...

Not DCSS, but an example of booster clubs "gone wild".