[ back ]
Pickerington still deciding on pay-to-participate fees
Pickerington Local School Board voted 3-2 at the Feb. 14 board meeting to allow administrators to continue researching flat fees for pay-to-participate athletics rather than pursue a tiered fee system for athletics.
Board members Lee Gray and Cathy Olshefski voted against the motion.
“I think that the equitable thing to do is the flat fee,” Board member Clay Lopez said. “I don’t think a parent or a kid should be punished because there are only 12 to 15 kids on a basketball team.”
Administration began researching the payment options prior to making $13 million in cuts last month. Announced cuts included nearly 100 positions throughout the entire district as well as the elimination of the D.A.R.E. Program for elementary students.
“The whole goal was to try to keep the fee at a reasonable rate,” Assistant Superintendent Jim Sotlar said. “We are still working on reducing transportation costs.”
The district will continue to pay the administrative costs for the athletic programs with parents of participating students covering personnel and transportation costs.
While the figures are not finalized, the district is currently estimating junior high athletics to cost $325, an increase of $190 from the current fee. High school parents will see an increase of $290, to pay $500 per athletic season. Sotlar said the fees could be reduced from there based on findings for transportation.
“I’m happy that we’re going to be able to have athletics in this situation,” Gray said.
However, he said he would be in favor of a true cost fee and a tiered fee over the flat fee the board voted to pursue.
“In a flat fee system, your passion to find savings has been diluted,” he said.
Board member Lori Sanders says the cost equations are complex.
“I think you bring up a good point,” Sanders said. “In the grand scheme of things, we would hope that savings from the coach would happen anyway. The one piece we control as a district is personnel and transportation. It’s not simple.”
Board president Lisa Reade said that while she sees both sides, she feels more comfortable looking at a flat fee “because we are a comprehensive public school.” She said this provides an equal opportunity for the kids that want to participate in athletics.
Revenue from the current fee under the junior high athletics participation is $133,380. The proposed new flat fee revenue would be $187,720 for the district. On the high school level, the current fee revenue stands at $325,500. The proposed increase would increase revenue to $449,500.
While rates are not finalized, the board’s vote to continue researching only the flat fee rate gives parents an idea what kind of fees they are looking at for the 2011-2012 school year.
“I didn’t want another month to go by,” Sanders said. “Transportation may not be a large drop in fee, but we need to be able to give people some time.”
[ back ]