Schools and Title IX: balancing athletic opportunities for all

Over the last five years, the Mercer Island School District has been tracking the participation of boys and girls in Mercer Island High School athletics for Title IX purposes.

Title IX, a federal law, is to ensure that girls and boys have equal athletic opportunity in grades K-12 and in higher education.

The district’s student population is 53.4 percent boys as of May 2012 and 46.6 percent girls.

During the 2011-2012 school year, there were 760 boys and 662 girls at MIHS. Of those overall numbers, 696 boys played a sport, while 541 girls did. During that year, there were 12 sports available for boys to choose from, while girls had 13 sports.

Based on information received in the May 2011 high school interest survey, several recommendations were given and adopted at the high school. The school added a second girls soccer C-team, a second girls volleyball C-team, a JV girls golf team and badminton as a girls spring sport.

“One area we need to improve on is the tracking of booster club funds. All booster clubs should be established as 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations,” said former athletic director Craig Olson in his report to the board.  “When they donate the funds to the school for their school sports program, those funds become public funds. All public funds spent in a public school must be allocated equitably. We currently do not have a system in place to track the amount of fundraising dollars spent or donated for the various sports, but one can easily speculate that the amount of funds raised by football, baseball and boys basketball far exceeds the amounts raised by all the girls booster clubs combined. We need to develop a system to track this or abolish individual booster clubs and create one booster club incorporating all the sports, a booster club which would have oversight over all fundraisers, revenue and donations.”


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