Two ends of the scale: Davis High organizations stay afloat despite differences in funding

By Aaron Berger, Staff–

The Speech and Debate team at Davis High relies on donations from parents to work and just this month put in a request for more district funding. On the other hand, the internationally-renowned Citrus Circuits robotics team receives hundreds of thousands in funding from outside sources.

Both are recognized groups with some district funding, and both remain functioning with their vastly different budgets.

Citrus Circuits is a sect of the Davis school district robotics program. The team is world famous and travels to different places on the globe to compete, backed by sponsors such as Boeing and Apple.

The robotics program as a whole, which encompasses programs across multiple schools in the Davis school district, had a $200,000 budget this year. Sophomore Gabi Skilling, a member of the robotics’ funding division, said that the school district gave about $25,000-$30,000 this year.

“It’s a lot,” Skilling said. “But it’s not enough to run on.”

Another $25,000 was made from the summer camps that Citrus Circuits runs, while the remaining $150,000 are from donations.

Citrus Circuits recieves about 15-25 sponsorships each year. Robotics director Steve Harvey said that, this year, the team “expects to fall within that area, but we don’t have it locked down yet.” These sponsorships range from smaller companies like GitHub to a sponsorship from Nvidia that has lasted three years and yields over $10,000 per year.

The team has a limit of $4,000 per robot, according to junior Katie Stachowitz. That amount refers to how much money they have to spend on their individual robot projects. Stachowitz works on the financial wing of Citrus Circuits, and this is her second year on the team.

The rest of the money the team has is split between Citrus Circuits’ different branches. About 15 percent of the original $200,000 will be put into savings for the next year, and the other roughly $120,000 is used to finance transportation, accommodation and tournament expenses for the team.

The DHS Speech and Debate team is another group that receives funding from the district, but it functions differently from the Citrus Circuits group. While they receive district funding, they primarily rely on beginning-of-year donations to function the way they do.

Senior Jessie Zhang said that if the group were to rely only on district funding, they could stay “running, if only in the literal sense.”

“We’d have our team, but that would be about it,” Zhang said.

Money raised by the group goes directly to tournaments the team competes in. Zhang said that most of the funding goes to paying for hotel accommodations, while the rest goes to paying tournament entry fees. These can range from $20 to $60 per entrant.

The team also has to pay fees to several organizations that run their various tournaments throughout the year.

While the two groups are on opposite sides of the funding spectrum, they both bring home a multitude of awards in their fields.

Citrus Circuits is an award-winning, nationally recognized group and at the end of last year, went to China for an invitational competition.

Speech and Debate wins trophies at nearly every tournament they visit and last year, they went to St. Louis to compete in a celebrated invitational as well.  

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