The New Albany-Plain Local school board needs to reassess the district's extracurricular-activity participation fees, the district's financial review and reporting committee (FRRC) determined April 16.

The New Albany-Plain Local school board needs to reassess the district's extracurricular-activity participation fees, the district's financial review and reporting committee (FRRC) determined April 16.

Extracurricular activities cost the district $1.8 million annually and pay-to-play fees generate about $54,000 each year, district treasurer Brian Ramsay said.

School board president Mark Ryan, who is a board liaison to the FRRC, said as the fees increase, participation can decrease.

FRRC member Dave Demers said raising fees could have a negative effect on future levy requests and the district can't raise fees high enough to make the programs self-sustainable.

"If we raise the fees, it could be seen as negative," he said. "If we need more money than (what fees generate), it could leave a bad taste for voters."

FRRC members agreed that extracurricular activities are beneficial but they wanted more details about the costs.

When the FRRC looked at participation fees at other school districts in the Ohio Capital Conference, they found New Albany students pay the second-lowest fees in the conference.

New Albany charges $50 for high school students and $35 for middle school students. The lowest fees in the conference are paid by Delaware students: $35 at the high school and $25 at the middle school.

Pickerington and Southwest Licking students pay the highest fees, with Pickerington charging $375 for high school students and $195 for middle school students and Southwest Licking charging $235 for high school students and $110 for middle school students.

Many districts, including New Albany, cap fees for families. New Albany students do not pay more than $150 in high school and $105 in middle school. Several other districts, including Delaware and Pickerington, do not have caps.

Joe Armpriester, the teachers union representative to the FRRC, said if the district fees are low for the conference, fees should be "modified to bring the district more in line."

Superintendent April Domine said the staff recommends increasing fees to either $100 or $75 at the high school and to $50 at the middle school.

Some of the FRRC members asked how to track what families currently pay and how the increase would affect local families. They also asked how many families pay fees and about programs to help students who cannot afford to pay the fees.

"I'm in favor of increasing the fees as much as we can but with a generous financial-aid program in place," FRRC member Molly Cooper said.

Ryan said the school board will discuss fee increases at a future meeting.

"The last thing we want to do is to increase fees and lose participation," Ryan said.