Distribution of Funding for Student Groups

The following is a list of a few student groups that would benefit from increased funding.

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The recent $1 million donation to the school from two alumni, which has been set aside for the construction of a new robotics lab, sparked a conversation about the way funds are allocated to different student groups within the school. The following is a short list of groups that would benefit the most from additional funding through outside donations, the Alumni Association, the Parents’ Association, and the Student Union.

Stuy Legacy

This urban dance crew has garnered attention along the East Coast with its powerful sets and sharp moves. According to senior and social media manager Christine Kim, “Every time hosts [introduce] us, they mention we’re from Stuyvesant, a top, elite school.” The fact that these dance members bring some form of recognition to Stuyvesant and continue to have to pay for almost everything deserves some attention. In an interview with Olivia Chan, senior and director of this year’s team, Chan revealed that “most activities are paid out of the pockets of the members themselves,” with the rare exception of receiving money once from both the Alumni Association and parents from Spring Feast.

This money is used for everything from renting studios ($50 per hour) to paying for competition fees ($15 to $20 per person for the two to three competitions in which they participate) to paying for additional outfits to hiring special trainers for the team—all which are critical to success during onstage performances. Chan also noted that voluntary contributions from the team are often insufficient and that Legacy strives to place in competitions that award money and has held several fundraisers, too.

The directors on the team believe that being granted additional funds from sources within the school—notably the Student Union and Alumni Association—will not only relieve some of this pressure, but also allow them to devote more time into prepping for the actual performances (instead of constantly worrying about money).

PSAL Sports

Though Stuyvesant boasts 38 varsity teams and hundreds of student-athletes, the lack of funding for Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) teams is often overlooked. According to Athletic Director Peter Bologna, the PSAL gives approximately $2 for each athlete, an amount not nearly enough for everything which goes into a sports team. Currently, Stuyvesant’s PSAL teams obtain their funding from the Parents’ Association and a share of the Physical Education department’s budget. However, teams still often use the Physical Education department’s equipment since they are unable to afford new school equipment, especially for teams such as fencing and football. In some cases, coaches must use their own money to purchase team equipment or cover other team costs.

For sports like track & field, cross country, and swimming, invitational meets are an essential but pricey component of pushing athletes to the next level in meets with teams outside of the PSAL league. These meets can cost anywhere from $5 to $25 per athlete, and as a result, only select athletes can race. Additional funding for Stuyvesant’s PSAL teams has the potential to improve the quality of its student-athletes with increased accessibility to equipment and more opportunities to compete.

Orchestra, Band, and Other Student Music Groups

Student musicians are expected to pay $50 every year in dues, which is intended to cover the cost of instrument repairs, new instruments, the cost of sheet music, and concert tickets. Students put on two major concerts every year, a holiday performance in the winter and a concert in the spring. However, the students dues alone are not enough to cover the costs of maintaining an instrument room. Students in orchestra, for instance, are often forced to sit out during class rehearsals because instruments are broken and not repaired. Volunteers attempt to repair instruments during class periods, but they are quickly overwhelmed by the sheer number of repairs that the aging instruments require. Increased funding for music groups would allow the music department to not only pay for a larger number of instruments, but also get them repaired quicker and allow students to spend more time rehearsing.

Speech and Debate

Every year, members of the Stuyvesant’s Speech and Debate team practice researching and performing several days a week to compete at prestigious schools. But behind its seemingly successful facade, the team as a whole unfortunately experiences many challenges with funding. According to senior and co-president Nishmi Abeyweera, the team “receives money from the Parent Association, Student Union, and alumni every year, but it is never enough.”

This money is used for everything from competition fees to travel and hotel costs to hiring judges and coaches, escalating the costs of tournaments such as the Harvard Invitational to $350 per person or about $20,000 for the entire team. Since school sources do not provide enough reimbursement, the team is forced to rely on other methods. Abeyweera believes that parents are often their first stop, saying, “We host an introductory meeting every year that discusses our financial woes with parents and ask them to donate.” The team additionally relies on GoFundMe sites and occasional contributions from the members. Even then, most competitors—despite their talent and immeasurable potential—cannot afford attending events outside their local region and instead have to undergo a complicated process in which channels subsidize those fees. Members of the team also cite a lack of sufficient administration as a factor holding the team back. Because managing most of the logistics and administrative work can be quite difficult, a number of members of the team suggest appointing more staff and students to direct financial and organizational aspects of the team.