McMahon High School Could Fund Their Theatre Program But Won't

Chris Peterson

  • OnStage Founder

Just as is the case with many high schools across the country, theatre at Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk, CT is unfunded by the school. Now before you get all up in arms about a school not supporting theatre, understand that high school budgets can be complex. Funds need to be allocated to cover not only expenses and salaries but also repairs to facilities and new educational materials.

However, even with the way funds need to be allocated at the school, the theatre program isn't asking for much. In fact, a recent Gofundme campaign stated that they are only looking for $15,000 to cover the expenses for the next 5 years. That's $3,000 per year, not exactly a king's ransom and the amount is quite significant for reasons you see in just a moment.  

While there are certainly places where McMahon needs to spend their funds, there is one blatant way the school could fund its theatre program but won't. 

Freeze Administrative Salaries

According to their 2015-16 Operating Budget request, the school was requesting a raise of $15,658 for their administrators. That $15,658 would be spread out among five individuals, one Principal and four "Housemasters" who I can only assume are Vice-Principal-eqsue roles. 

Now I certainly support raises for any employee, but when it comes at the expense of basically letting an arts program starve to death, it comes off as incredibly selfish. 

And before you say, "Well these people have to eat too". Trust me, the administrators at McMahon High School are eating incredibly well. 

Last year the Principal and Housemaster salaries totaled, $795,934. Here's how it broke down:

  • Principal - $180,451.94
  • Housemaster 1 - $158,372.45
  • Housemaster 2 - $156,727.61
  • Housemaster 3- $154,466.91
  • Housemaster 4- $150,641.32

So, while theatre students are wondering whether or not they'll perform this year, the funds that would support bare bones productions for the next half-decade were instead given to five individuals who were already making six-figure salaries. 

And while this scenario seems a bit egregious, it happens more often than not all over the country. While arts departments are being told that times are tough, they're only made tougher by increases in already high salaries for administrators. 

When budgets are tight, sacrifices need to be made, I would just like to see the administrators at McMahon High School sacrifice a small percentage of their salaries to allow their students to perform. 

So I hope all the readers of this page will certainly help the theatre students at McMahon High School. OnStage is fortunate enough that we have almost 100,000 likes on Facebook. Wouldn't it be wonderful if every single person who follows us, donated $1? If that happened students at McMahon could perform theatre for years to come. Think about it, won't you?