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Data links sports success and affluent booster clubs

As school sports leaders prepare to discuss new rules regarding booster club spending, Eric D. Williams of The News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash., used data analysis to help demonstrate how money influences a school's ability to produce winning teams and state champions. The newspaper surveyed state title winners from Class 3A and 4A schools from 2002 to 2006, totaling 100 champions. "The analysis ranked public schools by median household income of its neighborhoods using numbers from the 2000 U.S. Census, and the percentage of students on a federal free or reduced-priced meal program from a May 2006 survey taken by the state's Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction." Non-profit tax returns showed fundraising totals for clubs that raised more than $25,000. The investigation found that schools in the upper portion of the analysis, those in more-affluent communities, won nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of the state titles.

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