They say things are always bigger in Texas and those pesky Texans are continuing take the saying literally as a $60 million palace has been built to house high school football games in a suburb just northeast of Dallas. Oh, and they fired 84 teachers at the end of the school year because money is tight.
Football is more than just a game in the Lone Star state, it’s a religion, and nothing personifies that more so than giving a high school $60 million to build a stadium. How much of an upgrade is the new Eagle Stadium over the old one?
Well, the Eagles didn’t even have a home field since it’s school only has 3,000 students. So to fix that, the residents of Allen, Texas pooled their cash to build a 18,000 seat stadium that has two luxury suites, a press box and a 3,400 square-foot, 75-by-45 foot HD video board. The stadium is the third largest used by a high school team but it’s the largest to be used exclusively by a single team.
The good citizens of Allen, Texas are justifying the giant stadium by rightfully pointing out that the population of their town as doubled to over 84,000 people in the past 10 years, transforming their farming community into a suburb of “high retail and entertainment”. But the folks did pay for the stadium out of pocket.
However, at the end of the last school year, Allen was facing a $4.5 million budget shortfall and as a result had to put 84 teachers and support aides out of work. No word on whether they’ll be lining up for season tickets to Eagles games.
The maximum average salary for a teacher in Texas is $44,270 and that’s under a 10 month contract. With the $60 million that the parents of the community raised for a football stadium, they could have employed roughly 1,355 teachers and aides to help their children learn and mature as people. TO retain the 84 teachers and aides laid off it would have cost the community just over $3 million and that’s assuming that every teacher and aide let go was earning the maximum annual salary.
Because of seniority, the likelihood that the teachers and aides laid off were earning more than half the maximum annual salary is highly unlikely meaning the cost to keep the teachers on would have been well below the aforementioned $3 million mark.
The argument the people of Allen used to build this stadium — their justification — was it was a direct result of an increasing population. So the solution to adding more bodies and more brains to the community and getting them a valuable education is build a $60 million football stadium.
But hey, to their credit, the folks of Allen passed a $119 million bond package which covers the expense to built a center for the performing arts. So all those artsy fartsy cry babies can have their play pen while the real men go to a $60 million high school stadium.
$60 million high school stadium.
That needs to be repeated again, and again and again. There is no excuse as to why a $60 million football stadium for high school kids has to be built instead of pooling money to help the education system.
What kind of a slap to the face of American society is it that schools in Detroit are closing while a school in Texas that has an enrollment of just 3,000 students gets a $60 million sports stadium.
Granted, Allen High is a smart school — at least on paper, I’ve never been there before so I won’t pretend I have. They finished with an average SAT score of 1080 which beats the state average by roughly 95 points. That’s really great that these kids are geniuses, and that’s not sarcasm. One of the biggest knocks on this country is how uneducated the general population is.
But with average SAT scores of 1080, that means we have smart people in charge. Yet those smart people decided it was an intelligent idea to spend their $60 million on a high school football stadium, rather than helping out any one of the 42 Dallas area schools that ranked among the countries worst places to learn.
We all love sports, but without education sports are meaningless. Yes, it’s great to see athletes with God-given ability excel at a game we love to watch, but it’s ignorant to think that it doesn’t run deeper than that. And even if it has nothing to do with sports, no child deserves to be uneducated or have an education withheld from them because a bunch a rich Texans want a fancy and shiny place to watch their sons pretend they’re pro athletes. It’s a nice fantasy to simulate what it would be like to have raised your child to be a multi-million dollar success.
But at the same time those parents who pooled the $60 million together are sitting in the bleachers, cheering on their sons, someone else’s son is reading out of an outdated textbook, taking notes on scraps of paper so that they can turn in a paper the next day that won’t be properly corrected because the district doesn’t have enough money to hire adequate teachers.
Does that seem right? Don’t worry though, once you enter this $60 million palace, you’re worry o the outside world will be washed away with glitz and glam and high school football.
Soar, Eagles, soar.