Pickerington Times-Sun

School board lowers pay-to-participate fees


For the second consecutive school year, the Pickerington Local School District Board of Education has voted to reduce high school pay-to-participate fees.

Students who participate in high school athletics, marching band, the orchestra, chorale and theater all will pay lower fees this year.

The board voted unanimously Monday, July 28, to reduce each fee.

Now students' fees will go from funding roughly half or more of the district's expenses to provide the activities to about 45 percent to 47 percent, said Ryan Jenkins, Pickerington Local School District treasurer.

The board's actions included reducing high school athletic participation fees by $25 during the 2014-15 school year.

Now, students will pay $325 per sport.

Likewise, high school marching band participation fees were reduced from $135 to $120, and orchestra fees were dropped from $45 to $35.

Band members will still also be charged a $40 fee used to help replace uniforms on a rotation basis and a $10 fee for transportation, so the aggregate cost will drop from $185 to $170.

Additionally, high school students who participate in chorale and theater will pay $125 this school year, down from $140 in 2013-14.

The board had considered trying to create a cost split in which the district would absorb 60 percent of costs for athletics, marching band, chorale, theater and orchestra, but that would have required an increase in fees.

"I don't think there's a sense that anyone wants to increase anything," said Jim Brink, board president.

The board also originally looked at just a reduction of athletic fees by $15 this year before increasing those cuts and also providing decreases for marching band, chorale and theater and orchestra participation.

"I don't think the $15 reduction for high school is enough," said Lisa Reade, board member.

Prior to the 2013-14 school year, the board approved a $25 cut to athletic participation fees at the high school level.

It also reduced in 2013-14 marching band fees by $15, chorale and theater fees were cut by $10 and orchestra fees were lowered by $5.

Although junior high athletic fees were dropped by $15 prior to the 2013-14 school year, the board did not address junior high fees Monday.

Board members did, however, reduce participation fees for high school athletes who play two sports within the same season.

Although rare -- board Vice President Lori Sanders said there were two such students last year -- high school students have participated in two sports within the same season.

Among examples have been boys who have participated in both soccer and football in the same season, or baseball and track and field.

Rather than paying the full participation fee for both sports, in 2014-15, students who play two sports in the same season will pay 100 percent, or $325 for one sport, and roughly 50 percent, or $165, for the second sport.

"In the past we've charged them 100 percent (for both sports)," said Mark Aprile, Pickerington's athletic director . "That is something we felt definitely needed changes."