A Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce group will host a 5K run and walk next week to raise more money to offset pay-to-participate fees for local students.

A Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce group will host a 5K run and walk next week to raise more money to offset pay-to-participate fees for local students.

On Aug. 6, members of the chamber's 2011 Leadership Education and Development Seminar, also known as LEADS, will hold their second "Play A Palooza" event to reduce the burden of fees charged to Pickerington Local School District students who participate in school-sponsored extracurricular activities.

The group currently is seeking registrants for the event, which start at Pickerington High School Central, 300 Opportunity Way, and continue onto nearby streets, including Morningview Avenue, Pickerington Hills Drive and Shadybrook Drive. Pre-registration is $30; those who wish to sign up at 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 6 will be charged $35.

All proceeds will be equally distributed among PLSD students in grades seven through 12 who participate in school sports, marching band, chorale, theater, strings and clubs.

"We saw a need with the (November 2010) levy not passing for Pickerington Local Schools," said Jessica Seipel, Fairfield National Bank branch manager and co-organizer of the LEADS 5K run/walk. "We wanted to come out with a positive instead of a negative.

"We created Play A Palooza to offset the costs of the pay-to-participate fees," she said.

The LEADS class developed the Play A Palooza concept after the Pickerington Board of Education, citing budget constraints, set pay-to-participate fees at $500 per student, per sport for high school students for the 2011-12 school year, and $375 per student, per sport for junior high students. Other pay-to-participate fees were set at $200 for marching band and $150 to perform in chorale or theater.

On May 22, the LEADS group raised $10,000 through a one-day event, which featured food vendors and games.

Since that time, the school board has reduced pay-to-participate fees to $375 per student, per sport at the high school level, and $195 per student, per sport for junior high athletes. Likewise, fees for participating in band were reduced to $200, and students who perform in chorale and theater will be charged $150. Despite the reduction in fees, Seipel said a number of students still need help to pay them, and her group hopes to ensure all students who wish to participate in extracurricular activities can do so.

"They did lower the fees a little, so that will allow us to stretch our money a little bit further," she said.

Those wishing to participate in the 5K run/walk can pre-register online on www.active.com, runohio.com and coolrunning.com.

Everyone who participates will receive a "goodie bag," Seipel said, and the top three finishers will receive a medal or trophy.

"It is a run and walk, so you don't need to be an experienced runner," she said. "We just want people to come out and support our students.

"We're just trying to get as much money as we can."