School Board To Discuss Pay to Play, Graden's Evaluation

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 03/23/2013 - 02:34


Saline Area Schools Board of Education will meet Tuesday night to study athletic and activities fees and evaluate the performance of Superintendent Scot Graden.

The quarterly evaluation of Superintendent Graden will take place during closed session.

The discussion about athletics and activity fees will take place as the district begins planning ways to deal with a cash crunch caused in part by Gov. Rick Snyder’s recent budget and an expected drop in enrollment.

The district will receive $36 per pupil less than it received in 2012-13, as the state reduces the amount it pays to district who meet “best practices” goals. In all, the per pupil funding is expected to drop from $7,425 to $7,389, which would cost the district about $187,000.

Revenue will also be hit if the enrollment drops. The district is anticipating a decline of approximately 70 students, which would cost the district $517,000. The district is also expecting less money in Act 18 reimbursements.

The annual pay-to-participate fee, which allows students to play up to three varsity sports per school year, has increased from $125 in 2008-09 to $325 this year. But the rising costs haven’t hurt participation rates. In 2008, there were 630 students playing fall sports. In 2012, there were 670.

Pay-to-play fees were expected to raise $270,000 this year.

When the board took up the matter last fall, there was talk about inequality in fees for the various sports.

Students playing varsity sports pay $325 in the fall and can then play winter and spring sports at no extra cost. But students who play “club sports” can face much higher costs. Club sports are required to be self sufficient, so the fees tend to be higher. A student who does crew and lacrosse could pay over $1,000.

Existing policy says district administration can review programs to determine if club status should be upgraded to varsity status. That report is then shared with school board, which can grant the team varsity status. Factors for achieving varsity status include two years of successful operation as a club sport, adequate student interest, nearby competition and compliance with MHSAA and Saline Area Schools rules and regulations.

It hasn’t happened, however, since the swim and dive programs were granted varsity status.

Another issue is student fees. Last year, the issue of student fees came up when Students Against Destructive Decisions asked the board to lower participation fees, which were blamed for reducing participation.

The school board’s policy committee discussed the differences between athletic, club and activity groups when it met March 6. Policy changes were discussed and further discussion will take place after Tuesday’s board meeting.

Tran Longmoore's picture
Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore is a veteran community journalist. He is founder and owner of He is co-publisher of The Saline Post weekly newspaper. Email him at [email protected] or call him at 734-272-6294.

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