Feature Article - June 2019
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Schools & School Districts

A Look at Trends in Schools & School Districts


The vast majority of school respondents (97 percent) said they offer programs of some kind at their facilities. This compares with 96.9 percent of non-school respondents. The most common program offered by school respondents was youth sports teams, found among 80.7 percent of school respondents' facilities. This compares with just 56 percent of non-school facilities and is down slightly from 2018, when 81.6 percent of schools provided youth sports teams.

Other programs commonly found among school respondents' facilities include: educational programs (63.7 percent); fitness programs (57.8 percent); sports tournaments and races (44.4 percent); swimming programs (40 percent); performing arts programs (37 percent); individual sports activities such as running clubs (36.3 percent); holidays and other special events (34.8 percent); group exercise programs (34.8 percent); and special needs programs (33.3 percent).

Programs that saw growth from 2018 to 2019 include: fitness programs (up from 48.5 percent); swimming programs (up from 30.1 percent); performing arts programs (up from 34.7 percent); and holidays and other special events (up from 31.1 percent). Group exercise programs and special needs programs were not among the top offered programs in 2018. They replace sport-specific training and arts and crafts programs.

School respondents were far less likely than others to indicate that they had plans to add more programming at their facilities over the next three years. Only 12.2 percent of school respondents said they had such plans (down from 13.5 percent in 2018), compared with 33.5 percent of non-school respondents.

The top planned programs among school respondents include:

  1. Fitness programs (no change from 2018)
  2. Individual sports activities such as running clubs (up from No. 8)
  3. Youth sports teams (up from No. 4)
  4. Group exercise programs (did not appear in 2018)
  5. Educational programs (down from No. 2)
  6. Day camps and summer camps (did not appear in 2018)
  7. Sports tournaments and races (down from No. 3)
  8. Sport training (did not appear in 2018)
  9. Performing arts programs (up from No. 10)
  10. Teen programming (down from No. 7)

Programs that dropped off the list of top planned programs from 2018 include: adult sports teams; mind-body balance programs; and special needs programs.