SSC to institute pay-to-play policy
STANDISH — Students interested in athletics at Standish-Sterling’s middle and high schools will have to pay a fee to participate in the programs starting this fall.
Students interested in participating in a high school sport would have to pay $50, Superintendent Darren Kroczaleski said. For a student to participate in two sports, it would be $100, but to participate in any beyond that would have no additional cost. There is also a $150 cap per family for families with multiple kids playing sports.
“So if my son plays one sport, he will only pay $50. If he plays two it’s $100, and if three sports it’s still $100,” Kroczaleski said. “It’s $150 maximum for family, so if I have two children and let’s say they both play a fall sport, that’s $100. If they both play in the winter, I pay $50 and I’m done for the rest of the year.”
In the middle school, it is $25 for the school year per student and $50 maximum for a whole family.
High school sports impacted include boys and girls basketball, football, baseball, softball, boys and girls track, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls swimming, and dance. In the middle school, it will impact seventh- and eighth-grade boys and girls basketball and football.
Kroczaleski said due to the district’s budget deficit, it was forced to cut athletics funding to balance things out.
“It’s something this district has looked at a couple times,” he said. “It’s just now the recommendation is coming from the athletics department due to the fact their budget has been reduced. It’s a way to offset the cost of having our athletics programs.”
According to SSC Business Specialist Michael Waldie, SSC’s athletic budget last year was about $215,000, though he said the numbers have not yet been audited and finalized yet. In contrast, this year’s budget is $195,000.
“Four years ago, the athletic budget cost the school district about $250,000, but the budget for this year we just passed has it at $195,000, so in the past four years it’s gone down about $55,000,” Waldie said. “We’ve been cutting in other areas, and this was just an area that hadn’t seen a whole lot of cutting, so we wanted to trim that budget back.”
Waldie said the pay-to-participate system is estimated by Athletic Director Ben Welmers to bring in around $15-$20,000, which should help make up the difference.
The school’s revenues dropped by $81,240 between fiscal years 2013 and 2014. Despite cost-cutting efforts, the school still needs to pay an estimated $44,456 from its general fund to balance the new budget.
Kroczaleski said the pay-to-participate system will run until such time that the school board decides to end it.