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Letter to the Editors: Paly Sports Boosters are an active organization supporting student athletes

Dear Editors,

Hello, my name is Stephane Paquet, and I’m a Paly parent and the president of the Paly Sports Boosters. I’m writing because I read, with interest, your April 15 Spotlight piece, “Pick Your Team: Lack of Sports Boosters, reliance on donations from families creates implications for uniforms, equity, funding.”

I fear the article left the impression that the Boosters—a non-profit group charged with funding large, capital projects related to Paly’s athletics programs—was not active. The article quoted AD council and student-athlete leadership-team member Tasman Johnson as saying that “Paly Athletics is in the process of organizing the Paly Sports Boosters Program again but has yet to determine when it will be functional.”

Actually, the Boosters program is functional now. Our group is working with school administrators to plan several projects and events over the next few weeks, including: “Senior Signing Day” on May 23, a ceremony to honor Paly student-athletes who have signed a letter of intent to play an NCAA sport (this event was mentioned in the March 21 email that is sent to all Paly parents through ParentSquare), and also on May 23, a golf tournament sponsored by the Paly football team’s non-profit to raise money for the football program.

This school year, the Boosters have also organized the holiday tree lot; secured new bleachers for the Paly pool deck, to seat spectators of swimming and water polo; and installed a new netting system on the soccer field to keep balls on the field, and not on the surrounding track or in the stands. Just last week, we organized a free tailgate party alongside the Paly vs. Gunn baseball game, offering free hot dogs to team members and spectators and running a pop-up shop for Paly gear.

Your article correctly pointed out that parent donations fund most of the basic “required to play” elements of Paly sports, such as uniforms and equipment. The athletic department also supports the purchase of uniforms and equipment where needed and a host of overhead expenses, including software, league dues/fees, tournament fees and the rising cost of fees for game officials.

PAUSD recently has increased its funding to both the Gunn and Paly athletic departments from $50K to $100K. This increase in funding has had a significant impact in terms of covering bus/school van transportation—which every school sports team has paid access to utilize—as well as equipment reconditioning, game-day staffing and coaching stipends.

Overall, it certainly “takes a village” to run the athletic department, and we feel we continue to offer students access to a superior athletic experience at Paly. We would be happy to organize a meeting with Paly administrators to further discuss the specifics of how athletic programs are funded at the school, if you would like to delve into this topic in a follow-up article.

Thank you,

Stephane Paquet, President of Paly Sports Boosters

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