The problems with schools is that they are a money business. 90% of the schools around America would provide a great deal of money (millions) for sports like football and baseball, but they will only provide a thin strand of funding (sometimes less than a thousand) for STEM classes like robotics and engineering. Schools decide to spend the millions for sports to attract new students into their school because the outside sports and facilities will be the first things that students will see when they come to visit. This means that you will likely be getting the bad end of the stick if you decide to do robotics at your school. I have gotten the bad end of the stick when I tried creating a robotics program at my school, as they didn’t provide any room as well as absolutely no funding for the program. And for that reason I became independent.
If the school declines funding you, you will be better off independent as you will not just need to figure out funding for the school that declines funding for you but you also have to be the burden to every student involved as you will likely be the most motivated of them all. If you are going independent, keep in mind that you are not being supported by the school. If the school is stealing credit for your accomplishments you have the right to take it to court with the school for taking credit. This is your team, not the schools.
Going independent isn’t as hard as you think, once you are able to receive funding. Get sponsors, as they can likely provide more money to your team than most schools can. You will also be able to achieve more since you have more time, a more quiet environment, as well as less distractions. Since you are independent you will have less teams to practice with, so you NEED to make sure to scrimmage with other organizations to make sure that you are battle tested. Join alliances so you can make sure to have exposure to knowledge and information, as you will benefit greatly as independent with those sources. Although people look at independent teams and how lucky they are, keep in mind of the tough roads ahead when independant. If you are independant, you will need to plan ahead with homework assignments, projects, and tests. You will be busier than anyone at the school, as you will be either doing homework or robotics. Gaming time may decline, as you will be spending the majority of your time practicing, building, documenting, and programming. But out of everything, you will quickly come to the realization as to how much being an independent can help you in life. You don’t realize how much you learn with funding management, planning management, and community outreach which would never be learned from in a funded robotics classroom. As you become more social as it is a necessity, you also become exposed to greater and more efficient building techniques and designs. It’s insane how much I learned when I became independent. It’s as if a gate opened, showing so much I never knew existed.