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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Activities & Organizations

Spirit of Houston presents budget requests to SFAC

UH's Spirit of Houston leading the way. | Sara Samora/The Cougar

The Spirit of Houston is an umbrella organization encompassing the marching band, cheerleaders, dance team, mascots and twirlers. | Sara Samora/The Cougar

The Spirit of Houston made its appeal to the Student Fee Advisory Committee Friday, asking for two one-time requests of $75,000 and an additional $61,600 for base budget support next fiscal year.

The fees would support travel and provide band equipment. While SFAC approved their request for travel for FY 2017, it did not approve the request for new band equipment, which would have provided five flutes, five clarinets, six trumpets, six trombones and six sousaphones.

“We had to borrow about 20 instruments this year because we didn’t have enough funds,” said David Bertman, the associate director of bands, cheer and dance.

In an effort to sway the SFAC verdict this year, Bertman and Spirit of Houston director Marc Martin brought two different tubas — a brand-new one borrowed from a local high school and a rusted, bent one that has been with the band for years but will not be lent out to students, they said. 

Bertman said that there are 24 students who do not have instruments.  

The $61,600 base budget augmentation would raise funding per student, as the Spirit of Houston expects to decrease from the FY 2017 amount of $412 per student to $358 per student for FY 2018.

In a response to the band again asking for one-time funds for band instruments, SFAC asked why the instruments were not requested as a base request and the per-student fee was.

“The instruments were asked for as a one-time request because as a capital purchase, the cost per student would cover operating fees,” Bertram said.

In their presentation, Bertram and Martin emphasized the diverse group of students that the band serves and mentioned that more than 70 majors are represented in the group.

The travel fund requirements include increasing student interest in the band, visiting schools throughout Texas and allowing 53 high school students to experience game day alongside the band.

Bertram’s key argument is that other universities such as the University of Texas and Louisiana State University are given much larger budgets just for their bands. 

The Spirit of Houston, which encompasses band, cheer, dance, mascots and twirlers, must share a much smaller budget.

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