School won't let team stay together

Our school has two high schools, an Intermediate for 9-10 and senior for 11-12. Therefore, the school is able to send more teams in total to each competition as typically 4 teams per school can go. However, our current team has two kids from each school and they won’t let us stay together, citing that the school cannot merge students from different buildings.
However, we don’t want to split our team that has competed together and has already worked on this season’s challenge together. Are there any other options we can take? We were thinking about going unaffiliated with the school but we rely on them for our parts.
If anyone can provide us some advice it would be appreciated.

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If you plan on going unaffiliated, get a sponsor. It allows you to not have to pay for the expensive parts. Maybe have your parents talk to whoever isn’t allowing the team to stay together, however, I wouldn’t recommend going any further than a conference because that’s just extra work for everybody.

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You might be able to ask some nearby organizations if they would let you borrow some parts. You might be able to get an old Cortex and potentially some steel this way. (Most schools will probably hold on to their V5s and aluminum pretty closely though…)

Especially if you have a good working relationship with other teams in the region, it probably wouldn’t hurt to ask. A lot of schools have Cortex gear and old steel just sitting in a bin untouched somewhere. If you’re respectful, and they’re willing, this could save you a significant amount of money if you decide to go independent.

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I know this has been asked before, but how much will the cost be if we currently have Cortex and Steel but want to use V5 and some Aluminum?

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A v5 system bundle is $550: https://www.vexrobotics.com/276-7000.html

4 additional motors, at $35 each, are $140.

Aluminum will depend entirely on how much you use, but you can get 6 2-wide c-channels for around $35 if I remember correctly.

If you can afford a competition super kit or competition starter kit + 4 motors, go with that option. But otherwise, you probably don’t have enough to get a v5 and metal, and you’d be better off with a borrowed Cortex and steel.

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If I pull let’s say 10 people to get and split the cost, what would a reasonable amount to pay per person be to get everything except the field?

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Starting completely from scratch?

You’d probably want, at a bare minimum, the Competition Starter Kit and 4 additional motors. That’s $900 + $140 = $1040.

It’d be a good idea to set aside a “parts budget” for miscellaneous additional items (replacement motors, extra batteries, some lexan if you want it, a linear motion kit… You can just buy stuff when you need it). Maybe $200.

You’d also need to pay registration fees. Registering a team is $150, and most qualifiers (at least where I live) are $50 each. At a bare minimum of one event, you’re talking $200. But it’d be more like $300 if your region has expensive events, you do additional events, or you qualify for states.

Finally, you’d need to figure out transportation to/from events, shipping parts to you, and all sorts of odds and ends. This really depends on your situation.

Also, you may need to buy additional tools (saw, drill, Dremel, etc) if you don’t already have those, but that’s a topic of it’s own.

But all in all it’d be about $1600 or more, so $160 per person for 10 people. But there may be other expenses that pop up, so you may want to budget for $175-200 per person.

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Thank you for the detailed response. Even with the competition starter kit including everything for around 900, would it be smarter to purchase the V5 bundle then add motors, get 100$ of aluminum, and getting the smaller items (gears, chain, sprockets, since we already have a “fully built” steel cortex bot. In other words, does the competition kit have greater value even when some items in it may be extraneous to us? Also, how much should I expect out of sponsorships if we were tax exempt?

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I don’t know very much about sponsorship, my teams have all been entirely school-funded. That’ll vary depending on your region. You might be able to get grants, you might not…

The kits come with the V5 bundle ($550) plus quite a bit of aluminum. You might be able to pick and choose the parts you need, but you probably won’t be able to get that much cheaper than the kit. It’ll vary significantly depending on your team’s situation, so you should definitely look into it. I was referencing the kit prices because they often make a good estimate.

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Taking a different perspective on your concern: Have you considered the idea of changing up your team? We all resist change because we’re comfortable but many times changing a team member can offer a new set of ideas and you may realize something new about yourself. Challenge your teammates from the other building and then your program will have two strong teams.

It makes the most financial sense instead of going it alone. There is always next year when you can rejoin your former team.

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The team is not my only rationale for my decision. Our school’s club will not start until November and meetings will occur once a week for approximately one hour and 30 minutes. This was the case last year, and even while working outside of school, we didn’t have enough time for finish and had only a single chance to compete. By going unaffiliated, we have better control over our outcome and can choose to compete more often. Additionally, our two members at the other school are first year students will almost no experience and depend on the knowledge of the older two.

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What you said makes sense. Perhaps you can appeal to the leadership and ask them to loan you a set of equipment to do a collaborative prototype program from home. It sounds like you are committed and personally invested, plus, this would benefit the newer students and it wouldn’t cost the school anything.

If its tied into school policy then you may need to start knocking on doors and looking for private sponsorship.

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Try finding other teams in your area and ask them if you can join.
If I remember correctly, students making up a vex team dont have to be from the same school

Agreed, just remember that many schools have policies that only teams from their school can participate on their teams.

It never hurts to ask though, if you do it politely.

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so here is another idea which might work out if your school has enough parts. Ask if they would allow your team to use at least some of the parts while competing unaffiliated with them.

I would suggest having some ideas on a non-profit that might let you compete under their name as well. The easy answer is always no. But schools sometimes allow non-profits to use facilities.

Out district allows scout groups as an example. The catch is that you may have to donate sweat equity into the arrangement.

Overall, if your looking at trying to go independent you should identify $1500 in funding ideally, and $1000 at a minimum.

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As a note, from the school perspective there is likely two issues. First VEX rules state all students must come from the same organization. If they allow you to stay together and only four teams are allowed then half the teams are out.

Second, it could also play other competitions as well. As the athletic league sometimes has rules affecting even non-athletic competitions.

Does this mean that a team cannot have students from different schools? Where in the rules does it say this? By going unaffiliated, would we have a problem since we have students that go to different school?

where? I think you are thinking about Drivers/Programmers working for more than one organization. For example, you can have a VEXU team have a member that is part of that team from another university. The only restriction is a person being on multiple teams having been a Driver/Programmer role in competition during a season.

Maybe a little clarifying of what you are thinking - but in general, please cite the rule so people have a clear context.

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I was thinking of another competition which requires members to all belong to a single sponsor organization. But… if they are using two schools to double the number of teams, it only make sense that bridging a team would make it so only 4 teams total can go.

This could be a rule from their league. I know that TX UIL (which also sponsors football and sports) has rules about such things and they have a VEX league.