Collective programs make schools great

Published 7:00 am Thursday, September 24, 2015

Extracurricular programs are not all the same and they should not be treated as though they were.
It is important to remember this simple truth when thinking about the money spent on a high school football or a band program because while it is true that extracurricular activities enrich the lives of students and add value to a school and community, each activity has its own merits. Some activities promote public speaking, writing, team competition or individual competition. To compare, say, the value of a track and field program to a debate program is pointless.
Yet there is still, apparently, an ongoing debate about the relative investments into all of the programs. It’s obvious to us that a high school swim team would need less money than, say, a football program and it is equally obvious that a theater program wouldn’t cost as much as a baseball program. In other words, simply because a district spends more on sports than other activities does not necessarily mean the district should be accused of economic favoritism.
The way to best fund extracurricular programs is not to look first at the budgets of other, different, activities but to look at the needs of the respective programs. The budgets of extracurricular programs must be evaluated based on their individual merits and on those individual needs.
That being said, we also believe if a school district is in need of new band uniforms or a stage curtain, then students and parents need to speak up and hold the school board and the administration accountable if basic needs are not being met. We appreciate the wholehearted support the citizens of Picayune put forth for the construction of the new Maroon Tide field, and we hope these citizens put forth similar support for the other clubs and sports.
Much as cities aren’t made great by a single museum or restaurant or sports team but through the collective offering of art, science and sport, so, too, are schools made great not by a single team but by the collective programs offered.

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