Dance boycott rumors pose threats to event funding
As controversy over new behavioral policies set in place by administration during the 2017 homecoming dance fades, the challenge remains that there will likely be revenue loss for future school dances that support student involvement if attendance suffers. As Student Government plans student events, especially homecoming and MORP for school dances, advisers Matthew Mauk and Patrick Bertram need to prepare for a possible decline in attendance by budgeting for a worst case scenario.
“Attendance at school dances is important from a school culture perspective to have a lot of people at the dances,” Mauk said. “We hope to get as much participation as possible, but the other side of it is that it is a source of revenue for Student Government, particularly the homecoming dance, which are all funds that go back into student organizations.”
The process of requesting funds from Student Government benefits organizations school-wide every year.
“Any student organization is able to come into Student Government and request a fund allocation from the club. We always have a variety of groups that come in with requests that changes each year while others come in annually,” Mauk said.
Funding numerous activities throughout each school year allows Student Government to support all students and provide equity in opportunity.
“We have funded the haunted house, C.A.R.E. Days, the trapshooting team and requests from O’Neil as a few examples. Student Government also provides food for the blood drives,” Bertram said. “However, right now, we have to cut down on this in order to budget for years to come just in case.”
As funding would dry up if student attendance at dances decreased because of behavioral expectations, Student Government President Cassie Laibly worries about the impact on groups in need of assistance.
“Programs in the school come to Student Government for donations that they need in order to thrive on,” she said. “Our members worry about the inability to fund some clubs and activities, having to turn people away to save money for next year’s homecoming and next year’s events.”
While fears exist regarding the impact of implementation of the new behavioral expectations, Assistant Principal Rebecca Montour believes the concerns are premature.
“As an administrative team, we do not have any expectations one way or the other in regard to how student attendance will be affected,” she said. “We’ve heard comments from students saying they will not be attending future dances. We’ve heard equally as many comments from other students saying they never attended before and will now be more comfortable.”
One activity that benefits greatly from student government funding is the trapshooting team. An annual donation is regularly granted to them, helping to offset expenses for participants.
“If each student on our team throughout the season shoots 30 rounds, that’s roughly $250,” trapshooting adviser Dave Johnson said. “To try and make it affordable, we rely on our fund raising and donations to keep that cost down.”
Johnson’s main desire is to reduce costs and boost participation.
“With the idea that it can become kind of expensive, we want to make sure that every kid that wants to do it has the opportunity to while having it still be affordable for them,” Johnson said.
In addition to student organizations, allocated funds also go toward feeding blood drive participants, as well as offering aid to other charities and outreach organizations.
“We do a lot of community events and charity work, but just like the clubs, we will also have to cut down on the donations in the community. We have already decided on how to lessen the cost of the food for the Breakfast with Santa event,” Laibly said.
Montour remains optimistic for the turn out for future events, especially because of the new policies.
“The overwhelming majority of feedback the administrative team has received from students, staff, parents and community members has been extremely positive,” she said. “For students that do have a negative view of the new policy, I would ask them to come to a dance with an open mind and see what they think.”
In a desire for continued success through the annual dances, Mauk also hopes students recognize the need to support their fellow peers.
“I’m hoping that students don’t decide to protest, because the only people that would really suffer would be students; it would not be affecting the budget of the school,” Mauk said.
Laibly agrees that the future of school activities hangs in the balance.
“It is very important for students to know that boycotting dances is ultimately going to affect dances [and other activities] in the future,” she said of the boycott’s possible impact. “Without the number in attendance, other events will not be able to happen. It is for the students, it is not to make money off of them or for the club specifically, but instead to improve school spirit and student involvement.”