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School board approves pay-to-participate
The South-Western City Schools District Board of Education unanimously approved a pay-to-participate fee at the Oct. 12 meeting.
District leaders promise to bring back sports and extracurricular activities, with the new fee structure, only if voters approve the district’s 7.4-mill permanent operating levy on Nov. 3.
The board approved the measure reluctantly, as members have stated in the past they are against pay-to-participate as it limits opportunities for students.
“This was a very difficult decision to make,” said board member Randy Reisling who also has children in the district.
The fee structure includes:
•$150 per participant for high school athletics;
•$100 per participant for marching band;
•$75 per participant for middle school athletics;
•$20 per participant for clubs.
There will be a cap of $500 per family. There will be no waiver based on financial need, though Phil Warner, deputy superintendent, said he is “confident in scholarship opportunities.”
Last year, the total cost of extracurricular activities totaled $3.7 million. About $2.5 million was funded through the district’s general fund. Athletics for middle and high school cost the district $1.9 million last year. The marching band and music cost was estimated at $321,500.
Warner explained if 3,500 students participant in activities, it would generate $378,000 and offset the general fund 14 percent.
If the levy were to pass and extracurricular activities were reinstated, the district would charge the second highest fee for high school sports in Franklin County, coming in second to Reynoldsburg, who charges a $500 participation fee. South-Western would come in fifth in the county for middle school sports.
The tax levy would generate approximately $18 million for the district. It would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $227 per year or $18 per month. Voters have rejected the district’s last three levy attempts.
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