Extracurricular activities - How are they funded

Extracurricular activities play a key role in the education and development of our Aiken County School District students. The basic subjects, such as reading, writing and arithmetic are important, but don't sell short the role of extra-curricular activities on student achievement. Activities such as academic teams, band, ROTC and athletic teams allow our students to participate in activities that they enjoy. The sponsors or coaches of these activities teach our students life skills such as discipline, organization and teamwork. We all know that our students need to be well rounded to compete in today's society. The key is to strike a balance between the core subject areas and extra-curricular activities.

The Aiken County School District, along with other districts in South Carolina, struggle with providing funding for extra-curricular activities because of tight budget times. The only source of funding and support for extra-curricular activities included in the Aiken County School District annual budget (with the exception of a small amount of funding provided to the band programs district wide) is the payment of salaries for the sponsors or coaches. The salaries are commonly referred to as "supplements." Supplements are paid to sponsors or coaches in addition to their salary for their day to day duties. The sponsors or coaches can receive up to three supplements. Supplements are paid to the employees twice per year. Supplements are typically paid to full-time district teachers or employees, however, supplements can be paid to part time or nondistrict employees. Supplements are provided for activities, such as cheerleading, yearbook sponsor, academic team sponsor, athletic coaches, athletic directors, student council sponsor and newspaper sponsor (list is not all inclusive).

Extra-curricular organizations or teams raise funds on their own for supplies such as uniforms, equipment, entry fees, etc. Funds for supplies are raised via gate receipts from athletic events, fundraisers, concession sales, parking lot fees, student use fees, etc.

We all want our students to succeed in their studies and extra-curricular activities. Please keep this in mind as you are approached by our students for fundraisers and as you attend athletic events. Our students are counting on your continued support.

Keith Liner represents District 4 on the Aiken County Board of Education.