The Reynoldsburg Board of Education approved athletic participation fees for students at the high school and junior high levels during its meeting on June 16.

The Reynoldsburg Board of Education approved athletic participation fees for students at the high school and junior high levels during its meeting on June 16.

The approval means high school athletes will pay $500 per sport with a cap of $1,000 per student. At the junior high level, students will pay $300 per sport, with a cap of $600.

The fee hike comes after the failure of a 15.6-mill operating levy in May. Superintendent Steve Dackin said some athletic programs may be eliminated if too few students sign up.

Also approved during the meeting were fees for student musicians who participate in bands and choirs.

Fees for music programs at the high school level are $150 for marching band and $75 for orchestra or choir. At the junior high level, the music participation fee is $75.

Before the board took action, Dackin reminded the audience, consisting mainly of parents and some school staff, that the purpose of the sports fees is to make student athletics self-supporting.

"You may recall, during the levy campaign we talked about the need to make athletics and our extracurricular activity programs self-funded," Dackin said. "What I meant by that was the cost of providing these opportunities for our students would not be at the taxpayer expense."

Dackin said costs calculated over the last year added up to just over $1-million in grades seven through 12 athletics. Major expenses of the program included supplemental salary costs and transportation.

Dividing that figure by the number of current participants (1,341), staff came up with a per-student fee of $800.

"That was our cost if we were going to take all of our current expenses and simply divide it by the number of athletes," Dackin said. "My intent was not to recommend an $800 fee because I believe at that point you would diminish participation to such a point that we may not be able to offer any of our programs."

As a result, Dackin said asked assistant superintendent Dan Hoffman and business manager Ron Strussion to work with the high school, junior high, administrative staff, booster and parent groups to come up with a recommendation that would reduce the fee.

As a result, one coaching position in each high school and junior high sport will be eliminated, saving between $2,000 and $5,000 for each sport. Teams also will no longer travel more than 50 miles to compete.

The district will continue to look at ways to reduce costs and increase revenue, Dackin said. Expenses will be monitored closely and administrators will keep looking for ways to reduce expenses.

Dackin said he thinks the recommendation of the fees are the districts best shot at preserving an athletics program that will be self supporting.

"I'm not happy about the fees, I don't like to do the fees, I know none of you like to do the fees, but it's our fiscal reality right now," Dackin said.