Milford schools push equity in resources, finances for all sports

Football action between Jonathan Law and Hamden High, Friday, November 12, 2021 in Milford, CT

Football action between Jonathan Law and Hamden High, Friday, November 12, 2021 in Milford, CT

David G. Whitham / For Hearst Connecticut Media

MILFORD — The pandemic has not stopped hundreds of students from remaining competitive in one or more of the two dozen CIAC-sanctioned sports in Jonathan Law and Foran high schools.

James Richetelli, Milford schools chief of operations, gave an overview of the sports programs finances to the board of education on Monday, affirming that the district goes to “great lengths to make sure there is equity between the high schools both in finances and resources.”

Besides the 24 sanctioned sports by CIAC, the district also offers other athletic opportunities such as the Unified Sports, powder puff game and fencing club.

During fall sports, 437 students participated, with the largest sport being football, with 111 participants. During winter sports, the number of student-athletes was 307, with the highest participation being indoor track with 81 students. Finally, spring sports saw the largest number of student-athletes with 469 students participating, with the highest participation being baseball with 86 students.

“Two funds are used to pay the athletic programs — the general fund and the athletic activities account,” said Richetelli.

Richetelli said the general fund pays for coach's salaries, transportation to athletic contests, trainers, insurance, equipment and supplies and uniforms.

“The Athletic Activities Account is what generally pays for gameday operations,” he said. “When we say gameday operations, it’s things like game officials, ticket takers, announcers, scorekeepers, police officers, those type of things.”

The Athletic Activities Account is funded by the tickets sold at different sporting events.

“We are maxed out on what we collect from tickets, but each year, the cost of those game day operations continues to rise, so the board has seen fit to supplement the funds that we take in at the gate to pay for game day operation expenses,” said Richetelli.

School sports continued during the 2020-21 school year, but the Athletic Activities Account didn’t receive any revenue from ticket sales. Richetelli said the board supplemented $94,000 to the account to pay for game day operations. In the 2019-20 school year, the ticket sales were $93,406.

“Even though they were short and modified seasons, we still had game day operations for most of the sports except football and wrestling,” he said. “There were no tournaments or special events, and we didn’t collect hockey participation fees because of the short and modified season.”

The actual expenditures of the athletics program, including the $94,000 supplemented into the Athletic Activities Account, were $1,182,703.

However, the account did receive $1,132 in donations and royalties.

“I mention this every year. Yes, we do get royalties for the Foran and Law names that are on sweatshirts in some of the stories that you may go into around town,” he said.