Where does the money for our sports programs go?


Anthony Labrado

The Phoenix sports programs are infamous for being the underdog contenders in all sports. The basketball, volleyball and boys soccer team have all made it to citywide, and state tournaments. However, how much of the school’s budget goes to the athletics?

According to the Chicago Public Schools fiscal budget plans outlined in the Capital Plan FY15-16, $26 million from TIF funds and donations will allow CPS to build new athletic fields for Clemente, Wells and Alcott high schools. Two out of the three high schools do not currently have athletic fields.

PMA has limited space for athletic practices, only boasting a weight room and a basketball court built in 2009. Sports like football and soccer practice in the grass lots across the street from the school or at local parks

The idea for building an athletic field has been tossed around by the administration, however, the funding has never come through due to other side projects and a dwindling school budget.

“[The school] has been very fair with funding [for sports],” said Athletic Director Roland Paris. “However, the idea for the field has been tossed around, but nothing can happen yet.”

There has, however, been a purchase for over $43,000 worth of weight equipment, which is affecting the wrestling program as well. Due to the weight equipment being moved into the small gym, the wrestling program is now in crisis mode trying to find a place to practice, as well as money to sustain the program for tournaments and matches.

“We have no space for the wrestling mats,” said Paris, “There is also no space for it in our budget, so we don’t know if there will be a team this year.”

The school received a $6 million grant from the Department of Defense last year, which is for STEM curriculum and the Prepster program, which included new physical training uniforms the weight equipment previously mentioned, and several trips to the service academies. However, it is unclear whether or not the budget will be used for any athletic programs.

There have also been talks of the school starting a tennis team as well, however, there are doubts due to funding.

“Funding is very crucial for the school,” said Paris. “It needs to be used for busses, referees, and new uniforms”

When it truly comes down to it, the athletic program at Phoenix Military Academy is a force to be reckoned with in Chicago, as the records have shown in the past years. The funding, however, does not reveal that fact.