The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

Funding needs to change

Parker Kleinman explains the unfair funding structure for clubs and athletics at Lower Merion High School, arguing for more equity.

In this past school year alone, multiple new clubs were created at LM. Every year that goes by, another three or four more are added. Despite the increasing prevalence of clubs at our school, sports still receive the bulk of the funding. Roughly sixty percent of the money is allotted for athletics even though they represent only a tenth of all clubs and only a quarter of all people in the school. In addition, LM does not have a funding structure based on the membership numbers within such organizations. To provide fairness across our school’s extracurricular opportunities, LM must rectify the system of financing.

Since clubs do not make money for the school, some might suggest additional funding for sectors that benefit the school and its students the most financially. However, statements made by the LM administration stray from this suggestion. Their website claims that one of the main priorities of the district is for “students to be active agents in the learning process in developmentally appropriate ways in the classroom.” The classroom refers solely to academics, not sports. These statements point to LM’s goal and message: “Enter to learn, go forth to serve.” 

Learning may be done in the classroom, but it is also supplemented by an array of clubs. At LM, examples of clubs include Science Olympiad, Model UN, and Players, which contribute to more expansive and tailored learning opportunities. Other clubs, like the Asian Culture Club and Spanish Culture Club, teach you about international perspectives and customs that you wouldn’t get in a standard class. Each individual club has its own style and flow, teaching unique skills as well as important material that could be used in future careers. Since LM clubs teach skills from outside the classroom, they should receive funding equivalent to sports that do not catalyze academic improvement.

Besides the inequity in funding between clubs and sports, the monetary prioritization of certain clubs over others is a topic of similar importance. Each club is unique, and the school has to pick and choose which ones to fund. Since LM has so many clubs, funding them all equally is not feasible. Many clubs at LM have few people, and some ask for vast sums of money. If LM prioritized these clubs over other larger clubs, the larger clubs might object. Therefore, club priority should be based on the number of members. 

Clubs are enjoyable spaces and provide all students with unique experiences. However, each of these commitments takes a significant amount of time and effort. Funds are a requirement for most events because sponsors need the money to advertise and supply materials. Many clubs, despite a growing number of members, fail to grow relatively quickly due to a lack of financing. All clubs should receive a minimum level of funding if the school wants to retain its promise of a “student-driven school.”

LM needs to provide fair funding for all clubs, not just sports, in order to provide students with a more educational high school experience. A possible solution to this problem is for LM to create a minimum allotment per club and sport, increasing a set amount per member. This allows for club activities to become more affordable while ensuring that funding is equitable across all student organizations.

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