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 heard a detailed plan this week on potential cutbacks in athletics.

The district is facing a for the 2011-12 school year.

Shane Redshaw, athletic coordinator at , and Jason Rapp, athletic coordinator at , 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:

High School

High School
Proposed Middle School
Current Middle School
Proposed 1st sport $185 $195 $85 $100 2nd sport $115 $135 $85 $100 3rd sport $70 $80 $45 $55


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 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.

Mike Reno May 25, 2011 at 11:36 AM
The district spends nearly $1000 per participant for secondary athletics... well over $1 million per year. The dollars spent on gifted and talented programs: $0 per student. 'nuff said. Oh, and by the way, the board had an opportunity to reduce athletics costs, and capitulated to the MEA. Right now, much of the cost of sports is driven by the fact that it must be a union coach. Simply eliminating that requirement (while maintaining all of the other requirements, such as background checks), would've helped to reduce the cost to the district. The board could've used the savings to offset the enormous spending deficit they face, or, could've chosen to keep athletic spending at the same levels, and expanded the program as some parents are asking.
Mike Reno May 25, 2011 at 11:43 AM
One other thought: this article is about athletics, and the discussion should be about athletics. However, this is a perfect example to help illustrate how this "crisis" is driven by a spending problem, not a funding problem. We all gloss over the excessive spending on these athletc programs -- assuming that the schools are spending efficiently on them, and instead start fighting about whether we should increase pay-to-play, or eliminate certain sports. Someone help me to understand what the schools have done that would show they are prudent financial managers and should escape scrutiny?
J.Schira May 25, 2011 at 12:22 PM
Perhaps if the program was expanded to create practice teams at the school it would generate revenue since they could "pay to play". The private school in the area has 4 basketball teams for boys at the 7th &8th grade level, all of these kids play to play. These teams are staffed by volunteer coaches, mostly parents. I am aware that Rochester rents facility space, including our middle school gyms, but maybe this would not be necessary if students were using the gym for what it was intended - their use. When 70 girls tryout for a team and only 15 make it at the middle school level we could be missing out on building our talent pool. Consider making the "A" team our travel team to compete against the other schools but recognize there is demand for an in-house league and possibly potential for some revenue from such an effort and building our kids self esteem.
Mike Reno May 25, 2011 at 12:36 PM
"J"... you are probably talking about Holy Cross, and they do plenty with athletics. Lacrosse in Elementary school! Creating our own intermural league could indeed be self-sustaining, if not profitable. Interestingly, they do something like that already, although it seems to be done to benefit individuals, not the district (or the kids). We've all seen the Sportz Allstarz, right? Does anyone know that they pay no rental for the district facilities? (Although they do pay some money back to the school on a per-participant basis.) It's a risk-free, for-profit business. They have an exclusive contract with the district. Our taxpayer funded RARA organization cannot compete. Another local for-profit organization, I9, is not even allowed to BID on this exclusive contract. So why isn't the district coordinating this, and keeping the cost down for our parents? Or, why aren't we letting RARA do it? (RARA is funded by The City of Rochester and The City of Rochester Hills). Or, why don't we let other for-profit companies bid, in order to maximize the return to the district? Another piece of the puzzle... this for-profit Sportz Allstarz, with their exclusive contract with the district, is owned by one of members of the Rochester Board of Education.
Bonnie Kilberg May 25, 2011 at 01:15 PM
Enough with the athletics...95% will get no money for college...limit students to one sport, two if they maintain a 3.5 GPA and require volunteer hours. Those were the rules in our house. Participation in at least one school club. I am so sick of the pressure to create in these young adults the idea they will be professional or scholarship athletes, watching parents become totally absorbed in their students athletic endevours while watchin GPA's sink...students breaking the law sitting out three geames and playing again. Why do Rochester Schools teach no critical languages??? Chinese, Hindi Farsi that is where your money should be...that is where the scholarships are. Prepare these students for the a successful future. No my children were not athletically inept...2 were captains one 4 year varsity the other 3 year..The youngest qualified for States 3 years in a row...second year his GPA was below our standard and we did not let him compete. Grow up and be parents and a school system that set standards and promote moral resonsibility..We spend far too much time and money on athletics Bonnie Ross Kilbeg
Susan M. May 25, 2011 at 02:31 PM
Mike Reno - I wish there was a LIKE button I could press for your comments. Well, maybe AGREE would be more appropriate. Very good discussion has already been raised. As a parent of a middle schooler who competes in a sport not offered, supported or funded by the district, I would GLADLY pay the $255 (maximum payment to compete in 3 sports at the middle school level.) That would be a dramatic cut to what I'm spending each year to seek a private alternative.
Mike Reno May 25, 2011 at 02:39 PM
Thanks Susan! :-) And boy are you right on the bargain of $255! So far, for my son, we've got Flag Football, Lacrosse, baseball, and he now want's basketball. Anywhere from $200 - $400 PER SEASON! And that doesn't count the gear (which in school is provided). I'm sure swiming will come soon, and he's now showing an interest in rugby! :-o This whole interest in rough contact sports makes me worried that he'll soon be jumping into school politics.
Susan M. May 25, 2011 at 03:27 PM
LOL!!! Ru-roh. . . My daughter rides horses in the Michigan Hunter Jumper Association. Saddle, hunt coats, dress shirts, knee high leather riding boots, britches, paddock boots, trailering fees, boarding fees, vet fees, lessons, each class she competes in she is charged. . . 'nuff said about expenses! ;) Oh well, better she's jumping fences then acting like some taxpayers and jumping to conclusions!
Clara T May 25, 2011 at 09:52 PM
"this for-profit Sportz Allstarz, with their exclusive contract with the district, is owned by one of members of the Rochester Board of Education" Are you serious??? Doesn't the Rochester school board have a code of ethics regulating conflicts of interest? If not, why not?
Sherry Wynn Perdue May 26, 2011 at 12:15 AM
As a higher educator, I agree that most kids will not earn scholarships or go on to professional sporting careers. My goal in advocating an inclusive sporting program (one that does not practice cutting) is to extend opportunites for more middle school students to participate on a team and to gain self-esteem in a healthy activity. A cutting policy fails to respect the developmental siutation of middle school students who no longer receive recess and face changing bodies, conflicted emotions, and general unease. For example, almost 70 girls tried out for 7th grade volleyball at Hart, almost 4 times as many as could make the team. (This situation is the norm, not the exception, in Rochester's three large middle schools.) This was in the first year that the sport was offered. While some can afford to gain these experiences elsewhere, others do not have the resources to do so in non-school sporting programs. While you (or I for that matter) may not see sports as the center of school life, athetic programs do serve a purpose and middle schoolers deserve an opportunity to hone all their talents, whether musical, physical, or mathematical. And while I try to avoid snarky retorts, I don't see how my maturity has anything to do with a proposal to alter the existing system, nor do I see my stance as immoral or ammoral. Sherry Wynn Perdue


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