OLR Research Report

December 12, 2008




By: Judith Lohman, Chief Analyst

You asked whether any state or private funds are available to towns to expand school sports programs. You were especially interested in funds to establish a lacrosse program in the Stafford school system.

The state provides no grant to towns or school districts expressly to expand school sports programs. Local school boards typically pay for school athletic programs as part of the local school budget. The state provides various grants to support local school expenditures, most notably the Education Cost Sharing (ECS) grants.

School districts may receive funding for sports teams from private sources, such as alumni, booster clubs, or business sponsors. Districts may also require student athletes to pay a fee to participate in school sports. Local school boards make decisions regarding financial support for school athletic teams.

Local associations and clubs organized around a particular sport can be a source of funds and other support for school sports programs. There appear to be several local lacrosse associations in the state affiliated with the Connecticut-New York Youth Lacrosse Association. A computer search showed local lacrosse associations in Guilford, Somers, New Canaan, Darien, Brookfield, Southington, Norwalk, Westport, Weston, and Hamden. Another group, the Connecticut Lacrosse Foundation, reports on its website that it provided grants to lacrosse programs, including a $500 grant to Stafford Youth Lacrosse in Stafford Springs for purchasing lacrosse equipment.

For your further information, we attach two recent articles. One is from Lacrosse Magazine (March 20, 2008) and describes a high school lacrosse program at Newburyport, Massachusetts that was initially funded by private donations (scroll down to “Growing Pains” - http://laxmagazine.cstv.com/sports/s-high/content/032008aaa.html). The second is an April 30, 2008 story from National Public Radio's Boston affiliate (WBUR) about a privately funded high school lacrosse program in Wrentham, Massachusetts: http://www.wbur.org/news/2008/76896_20080430.asp.