March 20th, 2017
Members of Indian Prairie School District 204 lacrosse community say they're willing to cover the startup costs to get the inaugural lacrosse season off the ground next year.
The Lacrosse Advocacy Team surveyed 212 parents of high school, middle school and elementary lacrosse athletes and 17 others affiliated with the lacrosse program to determine the level of financial support they would be willing to provide.
The survey results are being sent to the Indian Prairie School Board, which must decide whether to sanction and therefore fund lacrosse as an official school sport.
Last year the Illinois High School Association board of directors announced a boys and girls lacrosse state series will debut in May 2018. The time frame gives high schools such as Waubonsie Valley, Neuqua Valley and Metea Valley time to work out a plan to budget and build their lacrosse programs and for the IHSA to prepare for the new sport.
Naperville School District 203 has committed to sanctioning teams for both sexes.
While in support of the lacrosse idea and its benefits for students, District 204 board President Lori Price has said she is wary of implementing lacrosse next year only to back out later because the district can't afford it. Administrators have said the state's budget impasse and legislators' inability to develop a new school funding formula may put District 204 in a position in which future budget cuts may be needed.
Knowing the financial challenges facing District 204, 84 percent of 229 people surveyed indicated they would support lacrosse as an IHSA-sanctioned sport under a completely parent-funded model, if necessary.
"The community has expressed a willingness to work hand in glove with the district," said Sean Storin, parent of two daughters at Waubonsie Valley and head coach of the combined Waubonsie/Metea girls lacrosse team. "The community is very passionate about lacrosse and willing to sacrifice considerably to ensure success."
Given a choice of four options that range from paying the standard per sport fee to fully funding the sport, the survey showed the first choice would be to treat lacrosse as any other sport and charge athletes $200.
The second choice would be a partial funding option in which players pay $400 and pick up the cost of personal protective equipment. The district would fund the remaining costs.
A sliding scale – where families would pay $800 the first year, $600 the second year, $400 the third year and standard sports fee every subsequent year – ranked third in the survey's list of four funding models.
The least-favored option would be for families to carry the burden for a set number of years, with the school board taking up the funding issue at a later date.
If given the choice, 80 percent of those surveyed indicated they preferred the partial funding option to the sliding scale model.
Louis Lee, assistant superintendent for high school, teaching and learning, estimated the startup costs for teams at Neuqua Valley and a combined team of Waubonsie Valley and Metea Valley would be $208,000. That includes everything from equipment and uniforms to coaches, transportation and fees for officials.
He estimated the annual recurring cost would be $128,000.
Lee said costs could change, depending on the number of participants and whether at some point Waubonsie and Metea decide to split into separate teams.
The bulk of the startup costs would be for equipment and uniforms.
Ninety-five percent of the survey respondents said they preferred to purchase their own protective equipment for their players.
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