BOISE -- It's no secret that education budgets are being slashed statewide and the first programs to go are usually after school activities.
Fortunately there is a program that can help keep these activities around at a small cost, and eventually no cost at all, it's called the Youth Endowment for Activities Fund.
The YEA is an extension of the Idaho High School Athletics Association and has been in existence since 1986 and has been building an endowment since. By 2007 the YEA had raised upwards of $2 million dollars and was finally able to use money to reimburse schools.
The purpose of the program is to help offset expenses incurred by schools who take part in IHSAA sponsored state championships.
In 2011 alone the YEA spent over $60,000 in reimbursements to schools across the state.
The way a school gets involved with the YEA is to build a vested interest.
The cost of a vested interest in the program depends on the size of the school, but as soon as a school begins to put money into the YEA it starts to benefit.
"I compare it to an annuity that you might buy that you put a certain amount of money in over a period of time and then once you reach that level you need to put in, then you no longer put money in, but then you receive the money or the dividends for that investment forever," said YEA Executive Director, Dick Curtis. "That's the way you need to look at in the long run. We're not in a position to help everyone out right now, but an investment now is going to pay off forever."
For 5A/4A schools the vested cost is $50,000, but the cost can be paid over a 25 year period, so the school can pay just $2,000 a year to benefit.
Whatever percentage the school has paid will be the percentage of endowment it receives.
The costs go down for each classification with the 3A paying around $30,000, the 2A paying somewhere around $20,000 and the 1A schools paying a little more than $12,000.
30 schools statewide have a vested interest in the YEA. Cascade High School is one of the schools that has built a vested interest in the YEA and is now benefitting from its investment.
"For the year we very seldom account for all the state activities cause you're not guaranteed going to state," said Cascade Principal Pal Sartori. "So it's kind of a bonus and then we would have to find money in order for us to get back and forth to state. We need all the funds we can get."
Cascade High School was one of the first schools to become fully vested in Idaho and the extra money continues to help them, especially with travel because of how far the school has to travel just to compete.
For more information about the YEA click here.