KINGMAN - In order to cover a $519,000 deficit, the Arizona Interscholastic Association distributed a memo to its 272 member schools announcing new fees effective immediately will be collected to cover the shortfall.
Additional fees are in place for the following sports and activities: spirit line, wrestling, cross country, golf, badminton and tennis. These extra costs are on top of an increase in officiating costs, approximately $3,000 to a school such as Kingman High.
"I understand we need officials," said KHS athletic director John Venenga. "We usually use our gate money for officials, but if we have to use auxiliary money, we're going to make it happen. We're going to make this work."
The new fees kick in primarily at section and state tournaments. Schools qualifying for these playoffs will be sending a check along with their team.
"What happens to a school with budgets done and don't have the money?" Venenga asked. "They can't go? Then what?"
The timing of the memo has many athletic directors around the state questioning the AIA. The memo is dated June 11 and could have been missed by schools due to vacations and such. Most districts and schools had already submitted their budgets for the upcoming school year, and these extra costs could present a dilemma.
"It's difficult enough already to budget for things that we need like dues, refs, etc.," said Lee Williams High School athletic director Cory Williams. "When something is sprung on us like this when athletic budgets are already set, it causes some stress."
Kingman Academy High has a slightly smaller athletic budget than the other two schools, but any increase to KAHS is burdensome because most of its athletic budget is met through athletic fees charged to student-athletes and fundraising. KAHS, as with Kingman and Lee Williams, expects to meet the new challenges.
"It's unfortunate things have to go up," said Kingman Academy of Learning Administrator Susan Chan. "We understand costs are rising and revenues are not in Arizona. We should be fine with it, but we're not happy about it."