Sunday, December 30, 2007

Funding Disparities Revealed at Benicia Unified School District

The local paper in Vallejo, California is reporting on disparities in funding between girls' and boys' athletics at Benicia High School, a situation brought to light by a Title IX complaint against the school district.

According to the article, booster club financial statements reveal that "More than $87,000 was spent last school year on boys' programs as compared to $6,900 on girls' teams. That includes $20,325 on boys baseball while nothing was given to girls' softball."

While Title IX regulations do not require schools to spend precisely equal amounts on girls' and boys' sports, this more-than-tenfold disparity is most likely indicative of inequality in any number of areas that are governed by Title IX, including facilities, coaches, publicity, travel, equipment, and number of opportunities.

Moreover, this extreme disparity is surprising in light of the comments of the booster association president, noted in this earlier article about OCR's ongoing investigation (which we blogged about here), insisting that booster-raised funds were equitably distributed between girls' and boys' teams.

Relatedly, OCR's investigation into the Benicia Unified School District has already revealed that the district had not appointed a school official to serve as the Title IX Coordinator, as required by law. Perhaps a Title IX Coordinator would have noticed these problems before OCR had to get involved.