Rising Cost of School Sports Must Deter Kids From Playing, Right? Maybe Not.

 09/07/2012 - 17:03

How much would you be willing for your child to play sports at Saline Area Schools?

Data from Saline Area Schools shows participation has been steady even as pay-to-play rates have jumped from $125 in 2008-09 to $325 this year. The one-time fee entitles students to play sports in any of the three seasons.

While high school sports participation has been steady, participation at the middle school is trending downward - even faster than the decline in overall enrollment. Spring sports participation has been hit hardest, which is curious, as spring sports should stand to gain because of the one-time payment program that allows fall and winter athletes to play spring sports at no extra cost.

The data will be presented to school board at Tuesday's meeting. School board members requested the data after a request from the SADD student group to waive fees, which were blamed for a reduction in membership.

According to Superintendent Scot Graden, atheltic director Rob White reported that more families are taking advantage of payment plans with the higher fees. The district also offers scholarships for students participating in the free and reduced lunch program. (Click here for the scholarship application.)

Here are the numbers.


SHS 2012-13 2011-12 2010-11 2009-10 2008-09
Enrollment NA 1693 1678 1742 1674
Fee $325 $250 $175 $150 $125
Fall  670 639 685 660 630
Winter NA 242 228 232 229
Spring NA 584 556 579 584
Total NA 1465 1469 1471 1443
           
           
SMS 2012-13 2011-12 2010-11 2009-10 2008-09
Enrollment NA 752 793 762 805
Fee $275 $250 $175 $150 $125
Fall  252 250 260 272 284
Winter   237 241 207 229
Spring   134 134 162 196
Total   621 635 641 709

One wonders just how much the school district could charge before there is a significant decline in participation. As districts redefine themselves to meet educational needs and deal with challenging financial realities, is it reasonable to ask parents to pay more? Should schools be subsidizing some sports as parents in other sports (hockey, lacrosse, field hockey, etc) pay a much higher bill? 

On the other hand, in an era when school districts are competing for students, can Saline afford to increase fees as school districts like Chelsea eliminate pay-to-play costs?

 

 

Tran Longmoore's picture
Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore is a veteran community journalist. He is founder and owner of TheSalinePost.com. He is co-publisher of The Saline Post weekly newspaper. Email him at tran@thesalinepost.com or call him at 734-272-6294.

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