Football frenzy

Texas high school districts are building multimillion-dollar football facilities, reports the Houston Chronicle. Denton spent $20.5 million for its new stadium.

Hence the separate locker rooms for each team’s offensive and defensive squads; the three-story, $900,000 instant-replay scoreboard; the spacious two-level press box; and the glass wall separating the athletics staff offices, trophy hall and banquet room from the north end zone.

The 12,000-seat complex, which Denton voters approved by a 3-to-1 margin in a 2002 bond election, is one of 23 new or planned public school stadiums in the Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio metropolitan areas, according to a Houston Chronicle survey of the districts.

The combined price tag: $305.4 million.

Priorities? What priorities?

About Joanne

Comments

  1. Evidently they grow lunatics bigger in Texas, too.

  2. Evidently they grow lunatics bigger in Texas, too.

  3. Tom West says:

    Is it possible that football is the only thing the taxpayers really value about the school? If so, it becomes a matter of how much, if any, of the football money the school can cream off the top.

    If the taxpayers priority there *is* football, maybe the best survival strategy for the school is to encourage spending there, rather than essentially cancelling football and watch the school budget be gutted by disinterested taxpayers.

    Just speculating…

  4. Eric Holcombe says:

    With 12,000 seats, 7 home games a year (all sold out) they only need to charge about $180 per ticket (plus interest) to pay this off in 20 years. This is assuming that concessions pay for the upkeep of the place. A $4/ ticket sellout of one game exceeds their advertising revenue. Where is the rest of the dough coming from to justify this? Must be nice skyboxes.

  5. Tom West wrote:

    Is it possible that football is the only thing the taxpayers really value about the school?

    Football does consist of unequivocal winners and losers, something that can’t be said of the public education system.

    The mealy-mouthed and self-serving egalitarianism that typifies the public education system may be acting as a contrast to football and thus elevating its status.

    If you don’t have a clue whether your school is good at anything academic, you can, at least, be certain of it’s status as a football power.

  6. John from OK says:

    Just speculation, but our town has had several special elections for raising revenue through bonds or sales tax increases. They occur so frequently and on such odd days that most people don’t bother to vote, so these measures always pass. I wonder what the turnout was in these elections.

  7. Walter E. Wallis says:

    If there were no football, there would be no cheerleader hootchi-kootchi.

  8. pouncer says:

    I’m in one of those districts. I’m incensed. A recent bond package was hard fought (hard Bought?) and only narrowly passed. The district superintendent was rewarded with a 30% salary increase directly attributed to his success in lobbying voters to approve the bond. The largest single item in the bond package was for a new consolidated bigger high school, with bigger stadium. (a lesser line was dedicated to getting district staff offices into plush new buildings) The stadium is nearly complete only one year since the bond was passed — the district offices are due to complete this fall, and the new schools also approved in the package are due to phase in slowly over the next three years.

    Part of the phase-over of schools involved moving all fourth graders from the whole district to one old middle-school building next fall. (The middle-school aged students get the old high school… shuffle board) While taking recycle newspaper to the recycle dumpster at the nearby elementary I discovered the staff had dumped all their library books targeted at 4th Graders. The dumpster was so full there was hardly room for my own paper.

    I salvaged nearly a hundred titles for my (homeschooled) kids. Most support I’ve had from the district, EVER!

    The thing is, every study I’ve ever heard tell about indicates SMALLER high schools, of 400 or fewer students each, ALWAYS perform better than the mega-campus facilities. The only thing that big schools seem to have going for them is a bigger pool of athletes.

    Which suggests to me the NFL ought to be subsidizing high schools …

  9. This is sports cultism at its worst. I hope some mad bomber (maybe who got that way from nonstop jock bullying) blows up that stadium and others like it. Or maybe diverts a billion-ton asteroid into the heart of Bushistan itself.

  10. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Perhaps it is because we still believe in winning in football, but not in academics.

  11. It seems to me that taxpayer could fight this on the grounds that it constitutes state sponsorship of religion.

    (P.S. for those who don’t know it, Beeman is really Howard Dean)

  12. That should have been “…taxpayer groups could fight this…”

  13. Actually, I’m the ghost of Anton Szandor LaVey.

  14. Hi, Joanne

    It seems your trackbacks are not currently functional. Just wanted to let you know I piggybacked on your post over at my site.

  15. Paul in Austin says:

    In West Lake Hills, a suburb of Austin, there is one large High School, Westlake High. A second HS has been proposed, but met great opposition. The biggest complaint is that the Football talent would be diluted.

    This is why my kids are home educated.

  16. Mike in Texas says:

    The thing to remember about this whole issue is this:

    Not one of these stadiums could have been built w/o taxpayer approval.

  17. Mike in Texas wrote:

    Not one of these stadiums could have been built w/o taxpayer approval.

    Oh, is that your standard now? I guess the NCLB now has the Mike in Texas™ Seal of Approval, hey? Seeing as how the party in the majority in the House, Senate and Presidency is there because of “taxpayer approval”.

  18. Mike in Texas says:

    Allen,

    Once again, you miss the point.

    The public doesn’t always choose what’s best for schools. Multi-million dollar football stadiums will not raise student achievement one iota.

    But thanks for bringing in NCLB. It won’t help raise student achievement either.

  19. I agree that the excess in football in Texas is, well, excessive. As a person who divides his time between New York and Round Rock (Austin) Texas, it is my observation that perhaps we ought not look down our noses too much. Yes, it is absurd, but if you want to find fiscal insanity, look no further than Albany. If you want to find a comparitively fantastic quality of life, I’ll forgive this guilty pleasure texans indulge in. In other words, before you criticize your neighbor’s high school stadia, look at the Big Dig, West Side Stadium, and $10,000 property tax on a modest home in your own back yard (the taxes on my house in Texas:$2750).

  20. Mike in Texas wrote:

    Once again, you miss the point.

    Getting kind of philosophical, aren’t you? If there’s no point to miss, is it possible to miss it?

    Oh wait, let me pull on some latex gloves and pick through your reply:

    The public doesn’t always choose what’s best for schools.

    Aw! Now I understand. Your point is that the public needs the wise, expansive guidance of our betters, in this case teachers. What a coincidence that you happen to be a teacher and not a member of the public.

    Tell me, how’s the weather on Mount Olympus? To your liking? No? You ought to do something about that.

    Multi-million dollar football stadiums will not raise student achievement one iota.

    You sure about that? After all, it’s not like you can fall back on the record of your profession when it comes to predicting what will and what won’t raise student achievement. Even by one iota.

    Who knows, maybe a multi-million dollar football stadium will raise student achievement even if by just one iota? It’s not like almost everything else, including throwing bags of money at the problem, hasn’t been tried already with not just a whole hell of lot to show for the effort.

    But thanks for bringing in NCLB.

    My pleasure.

    By the way, I’m still waiting for some evidence of the political tsunami of opposition to the NCLB. Something a trifle more impressive then a couple of state and local educrats whining about the pittance that they’re forced to get by on and couldn’t they please, please have another pile of money? A nation-wide, grass-roots movement that’ll put right this terrible miscarriage of justice ought to be a little easier to find, don’t you think?

    J. Philip wrote:

    I agree that the excess in football in Texas is, well, excessive.

    It’s closer to the equator. Probably bakes their brains a little.

    Still, it’s Texas’s money and at the end of the season everyone knows who’s number one and who’s number two and who’s bringing up the rear. Can’t say that about their, or any other state’s, public education system. You think someone’d be interested.

  21. Mike in Texas says:

    Allen wrote:

    By the way, I’m still waiting for some evidence of the political tsunami of opposition to the NCLB.

    I suppose you’ll claim you heard nothing about the federal lawsuit against NCLB. I believe representatives from 7 states are involved. Or that Utah recently voted to have their laws take precedence over NCLB. Or that Nevada is considering doing the same thing. Since that’s a new one here’s the link.

    http://www.krnv.com/Global/story.asp?S=3384899&nav=8faOaE99

  22. Mike in Texas says:

    Allen wrote:

    how’s the weather on Mount Olympus?

    Allen, why should I deny the truth? I am an expert when it comes to education matters. In fact, I have 12 more years of education experience than Margeret Spellings and Rod Paige (the two most recent Education Secretaries) combined. I also can beat out Spellings, Paige and Checker Finn (former Asst. Sec. of Education and founder of The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation a.k.a. Education Gadfly) combined.

  23. Mike in Texas wrote:

    I suppose you’ll claim you heard nothing about the federal lawsuit against NCLB.

    Why don’t we stick to the issue at hand? Namely, that mythical grassroots rebellion against the NCLB that you so confidently mentioned some time back? You know, the one that’s failed to materialize?

    I know you’d love to move the goal-posts and substitute the whining of a handful of state educrats who want the federal money but don’t want the strings but I’m just going to have to insist on some evidence of that groundswell of public outrage against the NCLB.

    Allen, why should I deny the truth? I am an expert when it comes to education matters.

    Uh, no. You’re a professional. Whether you’re an expert is dependent on your skills. Since you prefer the assumption of expertise to it’s evidence, no one really knows if you’re worth what you’re paid, you’re outrage at any skepticism not withstanding.

    Besides, whatever your real or imagined expertise, you’re just a hired hand. If the owners don’t feel like taking your advice then your sniffing dismissal is more a measure of your conceit then of your expertise.

    In other words, get over yourself.

  24. Mike in Texas says:

    Allen wrote:

    I’m still waiting for some evidence of the political tsunami of opposition to the NCLB. . .Why don’t we stick to the issue at hand?

    Funny how you ask for evidence and then you try to ignore it.

    Get over yourself

    Why? I am imminently more qualified than any of the political appointees trying to “improve” public education, or making decisions for schools across the nation.

  25. Mike in Texas wrote:

    Funny how you ask for evidence and then you try to ignore it.

    Ignore what you offer up in evidence? Hardly. I’ve looked at every little link you’ve provided and, without exception, they’ve failed to provide any evidence of that grass-root tsunami. Whining by a state or local educrat may be your definition of a “grass-roots, nation-wide” movement but I’m just not that impressed.

    Why? I am imminently more qualified than any of the political appointees trying to “improve” public education, or making decisions for schools across the nation.

    On what planet?

    On this one you have to be elected to office to make decisions for schools. That’s where the “public” in public education comes from. Whatever quantity of expertise you happen to be full of, if that is what you’re full of, until you get more votes then your nearest opponent you’re just a hired hand.

    Your derision at that process and its participants might work real well in your bathroom, as you rant at your mirror, but I assure you it won’t increase your influence on the public education system. I hope that’s not too big a disappointment but it’s something you need to know. You’re welcome.

  26. Mike in Texas says:

    Allen wrote:

    On this one you have to be elected to office to make decisions for schools. That’s where the “public” in public education comes from. . . until you get more votes then your nearest opponent you’re just a hired hand.

    Wrong! The Sec. of Education is not elected by anyone, he/she is appointed by the President. Neither of Bush’s appointees have any teaching credentials. Paige received a special dispensation from the Texas Education Agency to allow him to be Supt. of Houston schools. Spellings has absolutely zero experience. She is nothing more than a political lackey being rewarded for loyalty to the boss. Checker Finn has no experience other than teaching in college and writing bad things about education.

  27. Mike in Texas wrote:


    Wrong! The Sec. of Education is not elected by anyone, he/she is appointed by the President.

    The key words being “the President”.

    As in “the Secretary of Education serves at the pleasure of the President”.

    You know, the elected guy.

    Who calls the shots and sets policy.

    Who picks up the phone when the hired hand gets confused and thinks he ought to be calling the shots, and sets the hired hand straight.

    That president.

  28. Folks, in Texas football IS the priority. If you grow up here,as I did, you get used to it. It still doesn’t make sense, but you get used to it.

  29. Folks, in Texas football IS the priority. If you grow up here,as I did, you get used to it. It still doesn’t make sense, but you get used to it.

    And if you can’t get used to it – or they can’t get used to you and your hobbies, and use force to remind you of it – what are you supposed to do? Move elsewhere?

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