Families of athletes in Canal Winchester may feel a little less strain on their wallets in the upcoming school year.
At the May 21 meeting of the Canal Winchester Board of Education, board members placed a cap on pay to participate fees, limiting the amount that each student can be charged to $600 in one school year.
Pay to participate fees have climbed steadily, making it an expense some families cannot afford.
In 2011, the board estimated that, for parents to foot the entire bill for their child to play a sport, a $600 pay to participate fee would need to be assessed from each student, for each sport played. The board decided that cost should be passed on to parents if the May 2011 levy failed.
Unfortunately for parents, that levy was rejected by voters. Rather than shock wallets with a massive increase all at once, the board implemented the fee increase in phases. The first increase was introduced this year, with a pay to participate fee of $300 per athlete. At this rate, athletes and their parents are paying approximately 50 percent of the cost for that student to participate in their sport.
The rest of the increase was scheduled to take place over the next two school years, with an increase to $450 for the 2012-13 school year, and a final increase to $600 for the 2013-14 school year.
However, the board promised leading up to the November 2011 levy to keep the fees at $300 and abort plans for future increases if the levy passed. Voters approved that levy, meaning parents would not have to face $600 pay to participate fees anytime soon.
Capping the costs
While freezing the amount at $300 was a benefit to athletes and their families, it’s still a higher number than some parents can afford. The families who feel it the most are those with students who play more than one sport and families with multiple athletes.
According to board member Matt Krueger, 23 families paid more than $900 in pay to participate fees in the 2011-12 school year.
Once it became clear the financial outlook for the district is not as bleak as was feared, the board began discussing the possibility of lightening the financial burden.
At its April meeting, the board discussed caps at several different levels, both for individual athletes and for families.
On May 21, board members were presented with figures for a $600 individual cap, as well family caps ranging from $800 to $1,200.
Both an individual cap of $600 and a family cap of $1,200 were the scenarios that placed the least amount of financial stress on the district, costing the district about $6,000 per year. The $800 family cap cost the most, around $19,500 per year.
"We kept it (pay to play fees) at $300, didn’t increase it to $450, so we’re saving money there," said Krueger.
The approved $600 individual cap will take effect for the 2012-13 school year.