by Audrey Thomasson
If there was any question about the benefit of a student representative to the Northumberland school board, Denzel Mitchell put those concerns to rest.
At last week’s school board meeting, the Northumberland High School senior expressed students’ concerns that they are expected to pay the same ticket price as adults at school sporting events. He asked members to discount the $5 gate price by $2 for students who present their student ID.
The information came as a surprise to some members who said they were unaware students did not get a price break.
Mitchell laid out a simple analysis of how allowing more students to attend at a lower price could actually benefit the athletic program in several ways.
“Discounts will attract more students to games throughout the year which will make up for the loss of revenue from the student discount and may even yield increased profits,” said Mitchell.
He noted that 50 students attending a game at $5 results in a $250 gate revenue. However, by lowering the price to $3, he suggested more students would attend.
“A discounted game would only need to attract 84 students, 34 more, to make up the difference…and would equate to $252 in profits,” he said.
Mitchell noted that 34 more students would also be buying food at the concession stands “…further increasing profits needed to continue to maintain an efficient…sports program…and bring more support for our hard working sports teams.”
He said other area schools offer student discounts and that Northumberland teachers enter games for free in “…appreciation for their service.” Students work hard and deserve to be rewarded in a way that shows they are appreciated and valued, too, he said.
“There are kids who do not participate because they do not have $5,” said District 3 member Gerald Howard. He took it one step further by suggesting the student price be lowed to $2.
Board chairman Betty Christopher asked Mitchell to present his proposal to the athletic director and high school principal Dr. Travis Burns for their input.
In other business, several teachers and administrators made a pitch for additional funding for their schools in next year’s budget.
Track coach Eddie Barns Jr., asked the board to include $67,319 in next year’s budget to cover maintenance to the synthetic track. He noted a track is expected to last six to eight years, however, the school track is 10 years old and showing wear.
If the school doesn’t pay for the maintenance, “It becomes a liability,” he said. “If we have to take up the entire track and replace it, the cost will be $185,000.”