Is your school public or private? We are a “community” team, not affiliated with any one school. Our students come primarily from two rival high schools, but also from surrounding public and private schools. We also have several homeschooled students on our team.
How many years has your team been in existence? 8 years.
What support does your school or district give to your team (money, facilities, other donations)? Our school board donates money to MARS, and also recently provided a practice building. We do not meet regularly at the practice building (still meet at WVU), but we put a field in there, and also run some summer events there. MARS has to pay for upkeep, maintenance, renovations, and utilities; and when we got it, it needed some MAJOR overhauls. We have pumped several thousand dollars into the building, but thanks to the generous donation from the school board, we didn’t have to buy it or pay rent This is by far the biggest donation. They also provide access to the middle school next to the building to run outreach events, FLL practices, and open house events.
What does your overall team budget look like? What portion of that budget is contributed by your school? MARS operates on a budget of approximately $65,000 per year. The Board of Education contributes in cash approximately $6,000 (depending on the year). A lot of this money goes back into paying for FLL events, FLL teams, registrations, etc. Our team budget pays for student/mentor travel, hotel rooms, outreach events, building maintenance, etc. in addition to the “robot stuff” and registration fees.
Does the school provide faculty and/or co-curricular paid positions for the team? If so, how many? No. We have been trying to make this happen for FLL, and we were met with adamant opposition. We will keep trying, though! It’s a dream of ours. But all of our FRC mentors are volunteers.
Does your district have FLL/FTC teams as well? How are those funded/supported in relation to FRC? Yes, there are numerous FLL teams at the various elementary/middle schools in our area as well as several private teams. There is one FTC team at a middle school, but I admittedly am unsure about the funding stream for this team. I do know that they are not drowning in cash, though. They have to raise much of their funds (if not all) on their own. MARS assists in funding several of the FLL teams, but some of the individual schools also contribute to the school-based teams.
Does your school have a robotics course or series of programs? Is FRC worked on during these hours? No. We do not do robotics at all during regular school hours. Again, a dream of ours, and it is happening at the middle school FLL level, but not yet for FRC.
What does your team do for your school? Because we are not a recognized school activity (we are a school board activity, but the individual schools have traditionally been reluctant to recognize MARS), there is not a whole lot we can do for the two main high schools. We have participated in several events throughout the years such as career fairs, student org fairs, homecoming, etc.
Hope this helps!