School Athletics Proposal Includes Potential Pay-to-Play Increase
Cutbacks in equipment, uniforms are part of proposed budget for athletics in Rochester.
Amid discussions on cutbacks to instructional programs in the school district, leaders of Rochester Community Schools heard a detailed plan this week on potential cutbacks in athletics.
The district is facing a $17 million budget shortfall for the 2011-12 school year.
Shane Redshaw, athletic coordinator at Stoney Creek High School, and Jason Rapp, athletic coordinator at Adams High School, presented Board of Education members on Monday night with a 2011-12 athletics plan, which calls for a nearly 45 percent budget reduction in uniforms and equipment, coach education, and emergency funds for equipment replacement. The savings would total $96,000.
Along with these cuts, the athletic plan includes a proposed increase in the pay-to-play fees for the 2011-12 school year.
For high school athletes, the current fee is $185 for the first sport with a $370 maximum for three sports. The new fee would be $195 for the first sport with a $410 maximum for three sports.
For middle school athletes, the increase would be similar. The current fee is $85 for the first sport with a $215 maximum for three sports. The new fee would be $100 for the first sport with a $255 maximum for three sports.
Here's a look at the proposed fee changes:
The total revenue generated by these increases will be about $44,260.
The district says it has sustained its numbers in participating athletes despite increasing pay-to-pay fees over the past three years. Of the 7,325 students in grades 7 through 12 who were eligible to participate in a sport, nearly half were members of at least one team this school year.
Countywide, Rochester has the fifth highest three-sport maximum pay-to-play fee for high schoolers and the seventh highest three-sport maximum pay-to-play fee for middle schoolers. Those rankings are based on a list of 18 Oakland County school districts that charge pay-to-play fees. (See the chart attached to this story).
The Board of Education must adopt the 2011-12 budget by June 30.
Parents ask for more athletic opportunities
Athletics brought at least one group of parents out to be heard this week.
But it wasn't the pay-to-play fee they were concerned about.
Sherry Wynn Perdue spoke to Board of Education members on Monday, representing a group of Hart Middle School parents who support a more inclusive athletics program in middle schools.
"We raise this issue because the demand far outpaces the availability at a school of 1,200 children, " Perdue said.
"We are aware that boys basketball, but not football, is subject to a cutting policy, which could raise issues about Title IX since all girl-specific sports are exclusive, whereas only some boy programs are."
Wynn offered several suggestions to offset the extra cost of adding more opportunities for students to participate in sports at the middle school level.
These include eliminating travel, creating multiple teams and establishing a competitive team as well as a practice team to allow "late bloomers" to develop their skills, she said.
The board did not respond to Perdue's suggestions.