By Jeff Hutzler, director of athletics
Director of athletics breaks down how athletics is budgeted at LJCDS.
We are very fortunate at La Jolla Country Day School to have a robust athletic department budget that empowers us to attract and hire outstanding coaches and provide the resources that our student-athletes need to be successful. Our coaches are among the finest in San Diego, and we’re proud of the quality of our athletic facilities, equipment and uniforms. As the athletic director, I have the privilege of managing that budget. My hope in this article is to provide clarity and transparency on how our athletic budget is spent.
When setting the annual budget for the department, I work closely with our head of school, chief financial officer and human resources director to ensure that we’re being thoughtful about the financial sacrifice our families make to send their children to LJCDS. At the same time, we want to ensure that athletics is represented in the priorities for the school.
At LJCDS, athletics has one main budget that is organized by line items. Our athletic teams—basketball, lacrosse, swim, soccer, etc.—do not have separate budgets. Budgeting by teams does not align with the independent school best practices for an athletic department.
Mirroring the overall budget of the school—and of every independent school in the nation—salaries and benefits make up the largest percentage of the athletic budget. The next four largest line items are uniforms, officials’ fees, general expenses and facility rentals (e.g., the Jewish Community Center pool for aquatics programs).
Uniforms are a point of pride for our athletes. Our general rule is that all the varsity teams receive new uniforms—home and away—every four years. We say general rule because there are times when a team’s head coach and I decide that we can get an additional year or two out of a set of uniforms, and there are other instances when we decide that uniforms need replacing after only three years. There have been special circumstances when alternate uniforms (pink volleyball uniforms or black football uniforms) were gifted by generous parents.
Some sports require uniforms that we consider personal items (water polo, swim and dive suits, golf polos), and therefore, families are responsible for 50 percent of the cost. In addition to paying for their child’s physical education clothing, if a child is a cheerleader or participates in any of the pay-to-play sports, families pick up the cost.
The athletic department budget will cover up to $2,000 per season, per team for athletic team travel. Any travel costs above $2,000 are paid by the participants. Some of our varsity head coaches run club teams that can help finance team travel as well as embellish their programs with additional uniforms, equipment, team banquets, etc.
Our self-organized team parent groups will often help enhance our students’ athletic seasons with team lunches and end-of-season banquets. These extra initiatives are supported and planned by parents and are not budgeted by the athletic department.
For our student-athletes, their athletic experience is often one of the highlights of their LJCDS experience. The relationships that are forged and the lessons that are learned are meaningful memories that have a lasting impact. Our goal is to ensure that every athlete and team is prepared and equipped to perform at their best on the field, on the court and in the pool. Please feel free to come by my office or get in touch at any time with any questions.