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.

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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