Voltmer and Esslinger assert that financial management of an athletic department is one of the most important duties of the physical education administrator. The physical education administrator is responsible for making all decisions dealing with budget, income, expenditures and accounting aspects for all levels of the athletic department (interschool and interscholastic). Efficient financial management is important in any field; however, when dealing with public funds, no teacher or administrator can afford to be careless or ignorant (Voltmer & Esslinger, 1967). Therefore, physical administrators must employ simple and effective procedures when addressing the financial management of the athletic program.
The largest aspect of the physical education administrators fiscal duties is budget. The physical education administrator is responsible for creating a budget for both the physical education (school) and athletic (sports) departments. Therefore, two separate budgets are required. It is important to note that the budget for the physical education department (school) is generally set by the county board of education. This budget is funded by tax dollars. On the other hand, the athletic (sports) budget has to be funded by fundraisers and there is no limit to the set amount of money that can be spent.
Creating the physical education (school) budget is threefold. The first thing to consider is what type of improvements to the physical plant is going to be made. Examples of improvements to the physical plant are adding fixed equipment and/or the renovation of existing materials. This process is called capital outlay.
The second step is to determine the type of expendable equipment that will be needed for the following year. Taking an inventory of equipment as late in the school year as possible to figure your expendable equipment needs is a good idea. Items that are included under expendable equipment are playground balls, basketballs, volleyballs, and volleyball nets. In essence, any item that has to be replaced, due to wear, is considered expendable equipment. When taking inventory, it is important to note the condition of all equipment. Another important consideration is what type of equipment will be needed for the following school year. For example, you would not order softballs if you were not covering softball in you team sports unit.
The most difficult task when considering expendable equipment is estimating how much to purchase. The physical education administrator must base this decision on the amount of students that will be serviced the next school year and how fast a particular type of equipment might last. A good rule of thumb is to consider the budget for expendable equipment from previous years. In making the estimate of what is needed, the administrator should be certain to order an adequate amount of supplies. It is always better to order too many items than not enough (1964).
The third step in preparing the physical education budget is to consider any maintenance and repair items. Maintenance and repair items include painting, refinishing, and repair of equipment. Most schools, however, have maintenance departments that can administer to most maintenance needs. If the school cannot handle the type of repair needed, bids will be sent out to various companies for the job. The company responding with the lowest bid will be offered the job. It is important to note that most counties have a separate account to handle maintenance and repair items.
Creating the athletic budget is a bit more complex. As stated previously, the athletic budget is only partly funded by the school. The rest of the money has to be raised. There are many ways to raise funds for the athletic budget. Therefore, the physical education administrator is not only concerned with creating the athletic budget, but they must also be concerned with income for the athletic budget. The five most frequent sources of income are: (1) gate receipts, (2) board of education, (3) concessions, (4) athletic association membership fees (booster club), and (5) fund raisers (1967). Monies raised for the athletic department is primarily dependent upon the success of the teams involved. Teams with high success will generally raise more money than programs with limited or no success.
There are many things to consider when preparing the athletic budget. Unlike the physical education budget, the physical education administrator will base the amount of money he/she can spend on the total amount of anticipated funds they expect for the following year. He/she will have to use a keen eye when determining this amount.
The physical education administrator must rely heavily on equipment inventories from members of the coaching staff when preparing the athletic budget. From this inventory, the physical education administrator can estimate the total amount that will need to be spent on equipment for the following year. This list may need modification if it exceeds the total amount of anticipated funds. Other expenses that need to be considered when preparing the athletic budget are: cost of officials, transportation expenses, food allotment, and the amount needed to properly stock the concession stand. Once the budget has been written to the satisfaction of the physical education administrator, it must be sent to the school's principal for adoption. Once the athletic and physical education budget has been adopted, invoices can be written and item can be ordered as needed.
When creating the budget it is important to allow for emergency expenditures. It is possible to set aside an emergency fund in the original budget. However, the physical education administrator must remember that this fund is for emergencies only, not for ordering more supplies on a whim. Another possibility for handling emergencies is to transfer money from an item that really does not need to be ordered or from an item that you find out you do not need. If this transfer is to take place, the school's principal must approve it. Even though the physical education administrator has written the budget and knows his/her needs, he/she still has to answer to someone about budgetary items.
As with any job dealing with money, the physical education administrator must be an excellent record keeper. First of all, records show that the money is being spent on budgetary items. Secondly, records act as an excellent tool for creating the next years' budget. Records also help the physical athletic administrator deep up with spending. He/she will be able to track income versus expenditures.
While it is important that the administrator monitor the amount of money spent and the amount of money to be spent, he/she is not responsible for the overall account of the budget. Most schools employ a secretary to handle the accounting duties. This person writes the checks, makes deposits, and balances the general ledger. They are also responsible for providing paperwork when audited.
As stated previously, anyone dealing with public funds can not be careless. Therefore the physical education administrator must closely keep track of his/her budget. They must also be able to have a good sense of what is needed and what is not needed when creating the budget. While they are solely responsible for creating the budget, they can not do it alone. They have to be able to trust the coaches and that work under them to be responsible when requesting budget items.
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