The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and its member state associations champion interscholastic sports and performing arts activities because they promote citizenship and sportsmanship in the 11 million students who participate nationwide. Activity programs instill a sense of pride in school and community, teach lifelong lessons and skills of teamwork and self-discipline and facilitate the physical and emotional development of the nation’s youth.
There is no better time than now to assert “The Case for High School Activities.” Education and community leaders across America need the facts contained in this material documenting the benefits of participation in interscholastic sports, music, theatre, debate, and other activities, to provide support needed for these programs. These activities provide important developmental experiences that enrich a student’s high school experience and entire life, and these programs must be protected and sustained.
At a cost of only one to three percent (or less in many cases) of an overall school’s budget, high school activity programs are one of today’s best bargains. It is in these vital programs – sports, music, speech, theatre, debate – where young people learn lifelong lessons that complement the academic lessons taught in the classroom. From a cost standpoint, activity programs are an exceptional bargain when matched against the overall school district’s education budget.
Examinations of various school districts’ budget information across the country reveal that activity programs make up very small percentages of school budgets. In the 2014-15 school year, the city of Chicago’s Public School Board of Education’s budget was $4.93 billion. The activity programs portion was $17.6 million. In the Los Angeles Unified school district, activity programs received $6.33 million of the overall $7.27 billion budget for 2014-15. Finally, in the Miami – Dade, Florida school district, its Board of Education had a 2014-15 overall budget of $3.7 billion dollars, while setting aside $17.2 million for activity programs. In all of these examples, the budget for school activity programs is less than one percent of the overall district’s budget. Considering the benefits, which are outlined below, at such small proportions of overall school district budgets, school activity programs are one of the most effective investments being made in secondary school education programs today.
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