Local News

Wake booster clubs need a boost

Posted September 4, 2009 10:22 p.m. EDT
Updated September 5, 2009 7:31 a.m. EDT

— In these lean times, high school booster clubs, like those in Wake County, are feeling the strain.

In Wake County, schools say they’ve seen a 30 percent decrease in revenue from concession stands. Sponsors have also dropped.

When it comes to high school athletics, football programs pay the bills. At Southeast Raleigh High School, which operates about a $100,000 budget, the rivalry game against Enloe High School could generate a third of the budget, officials said.

The school system provides some money and other resources, but the main source of revenue for high school athletics comes from fund-raising.

In the past, schools could rely on outside sponsors, like local businesses, to generate revenue. In order to fill the gap, most Wake County Schools, bank on packed stadiums for football games.

Southeast Raleigh High School Athletic Director Gary Powers said booster club memberships in the county have dropped from 30 people to less than six. Powers said that type of drastic drop in sponsorship money, which includes advertisements for local businesses, means about $20,000 to $30,000 is not available for most high school athletic directors.

“It’s the same folks. They’re honest with you. They tell you, ‘I can’t afford it. We don’t have it in our budget,’” Powers said.

In order to fill the gap, most Wake County Schools, bank on packed stadiums for football games.

“If you don’t have the money, you can’t put the kids on the field because equipment is expensive,” said Kermit Chapman, a parent of an Enloe student.

“You do it for the kids. The parents are willing to work, but the money isn’t out there for them anymore,” Powers said.

Parents and others volunteer to run the concession stands.

“I’m making calls, sending e-mails. We need the parents to come and volunteer,” said Sonia Clark, a Southeast Raleigh High Booster Club member.

Clark, who has been volunteering with the booster club for about three years, said their lack of manpower is preventing them from making more money.