School Suburban Purchase

A deeper look into the school’s finances and motivations.


credits: Google Images

With the start of the new school year, students reuniting with friends, teachers drinking their sorrows away with black coffee, and everybody enjoying the upgraded commons, it seems that nobody has paid much attention to the school’s annual budget. The budget provides us with all the amazing resources we have available to us and allows us to learn in comfort. It seems that nobody outside the school’s administration knows of the most recent and intriguing purchase: two Chevrolet Suburbans, sleek and new in all their glory. But what compelled this large purchase of $163,000? 

Every year, schools in the district are allotted a sum of money (this year’s total allocation for HHS was $398,000) to spend on supplies and equipment that suit the needs of the students and teachers, though it’s sometimes unclear where all the money is going. It could be said that people are actively ignoring the budget, even when large purchases are made. While there is the conception that all of that money is used up, there is often an amount that does not get used, and carries over to the next school year, adding onto the annual budget and freeing up some space to relax (this often compounds due to years previous). That carry-over is often used to improve the quality of the school building and experiences that happen in it at the discretion of the school and district. Some of this carry-over usually includes fees paid by parents and students. The recent purchase of the Suburbans used over a fifth of the school’s annual budget, excluding this carry-over, which, this year, totaled a budget of $1,230,000.

Schools can decide to use the extra money in their budget to purchase new equipment, renovate certain parts of the school–such as the new commons at Herriman High School–or any other number of things. Two brand-new Chevy Suburbans are not what would usually come to mind. Rather, most people would think about the arts and various clubs and push for them to receive more funding. 

Thomas Frank, one of the Tenors in the A Capella choir, had this to say regarding the money being spent on these suburbans, and its effects, “what about funding for choir and band? Could it drop because of how much money they spent on those cars?” He seemed very concerned about the financial state of the school, especially regarding the activities and extracurriculars many students enjoy. Many schools take away money from certain areas to support other, more favorable areas. Fortunately, Herriman is not one of these schools, and they distribute funds to the arts, sports, and academics fairly equally.

When asked about the purchase, the Herriman High Principal, Todd Quarnberg, seemed very eager to share: “The parents and students at our school spend a lot of money, and we intend to use that money to improve the experience of our students as much as possible. When considering the purchase, we sought to provide a way to transport teams and groups with as little cost – and as much comfort – as possible. Purchasing the Suburbans was very costly, and it put somewhat of restraint on our budget for this year, but we have also taken into account the savings and benefits a purchase like this could bring in coming years.”

It is easy to infer, after reviewing the information, that staff and administration want to use the suburbans to help with transportation and savings. Considering the vast sum of money the school has at its disposal this year, one-tenth of it going to such benefits doesn’t seem like a large issue.

Eli Browne was similarly eager for the suburban purchase, though he didn’t know much about the situation, and was mostly speculating “I think that it’s a good idea for security because it’s not a giant yellow bus and people won’t think ‘oh, that’s a school bus full of children!’, they’ll assume it’s just another car. And obviously, the students wouldn’t be allowed to drive it, so it would have to only be driven by staff. I also think that it’s a really good decision because it gives teams like the slam poetry team a more accessible form of transportation…” 

When considering the different interviews conducted, a question that many were drawn to was Is it worth it? The money spent on these Suburbans was a large sum, and it’s unclear when students will be able to use them, and what they will be able to use them for. It is only with experience that one can truly say that a decision was worth, or unworthy of, the cost.