Competing in Michigan’s School of Choice milieu
Varsity News Network, LLC
The school system in Michigan is in the midst of one of the most difficult financial times in recent memory. But because of the School of Choice system currently in place schools have the ability to proactively impact their budget by promoting their athletic programs. Thanks to advances in Internet and social technology, doing so has never been easier, or more necessary.
State funding for public schools in Michigan is based on enrollment; the State of Michigan funds public schools at an average rate of over $7,000 per student (Detroit News, 2008). Under the current School of Choice system, students are permitted to attend virtually any public school they wish (Michigan, 2010). These two factors play against one another to create an environment in which schools are competing for students in an effort to increase funding.
So, under the School of Choice system that currently governs Michigan’s public school system, the key to a larger budget is to increase enrollment. After proximity to home or work, the extracurricular activities program – particularly interscholastic athletics – is a school’s most valuable tool for attracting and holding students (Roberts, 2004). Students identify with and value a school’s extracurricular activities, and in particular their athletic programs, more than any other aspect of high school life.
Since of course it is not reasonable to change the location of a school, the most effective method through which to increase enrollment and therefore budget at a school, is through the successful promotion of that school’s athletic programs.
Traditionally, schools have not proactively marketed their athletic programs for two reasons: because doing so was not effective for cost and time reasons, and because the promotion of high school athletics had always happened through the mainstream media. But with the ubiquitous nature of today’s online and social technology schools can now affect this process in a cost effective manner, and take certain actions to increase the popularity, name recognition and value of their athletic teams.
The Varsity News Network can help be the catalyst for taking your Athletic Department to the next level. To find out more about VNN, contact us today.
Read about how an online presence for your athletic department can engage the community to support athletics.
Detroit News. (2008). Michigan 2009 per-pupil funding by district [Data File]. Retrieved from: http://detnews.com/article/20080723/SPECIAL01/80723001/1459/special03/Michigan-2009-per-pupil-funding-by-district
Lorenzo, C., Gomez, M. A., Molla, A. (2007). Website design and e-consumer: effects and responses. International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising, 4(1), 114-141.
Michigan Department of Education (2010). Schools of choice. Retrieved from: http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,1607,7-140-6530_30334-106922–,00.html
Roberts, J. (2004). Never more valuable. MHSAA. Retrieved from: http://www.mhsaa.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=ydCBCuV7Erc%3d&tabid=948