Fall sports enrollment OK despite fee hike

Perkins Schools pay-to-participate fees: up. District-wide enrollment: up. Participation in extracurricular activities: up in most cases.
Alissa Widman Neese
Aug 21, 2013
Documents to justify the latter two claims: not readily available, according to district officials.

Despite this year’s two failed tax levies, slew of district-wide cuts and hiked pay-toparticipate fees, Perkins Schools hasn’t seen a dramatic drop-off of fall athletes or incoming students, athletic director Mike Strohl and superintendent Jim Gunner said Tuesday. “We’re either at or up in every sport compared to last year,” Strohl said. “By no stretch of the imagination will this be healthy long term, but from what we see right now, we’re doing just fine and hanging in there. Parents are finding a way to make it happen.”

Perkins Schools officially implemented inflated pay-toparticipate fees Aug. 6, the day a majority of voters rejected the district’s 10-year, 6.73-mill emergency operating levy proposal. The fees range from $730 per high school sport to $100 per high school or middle school club.

The Register emailed Strohl and Gunner on Friday, asking for enrollment data to illustrate pay-to-participate’s impact on fall extracurricular activities, specifically athletics. When they spoke to the Register on Tuesday, the pair said the information won’t be available until September, although almost all sports have already started their seasons.

The Register emailed a public records request to treasurer Lisa Crescimano on Tuesday evening, requesting district-wide enrollment numbers for the past five years, all fall sports rosters and other documents.

According to Strohl and Gunner, nothing contained within the documents will be particularly surprising.

“Most schools that have implemented pay-to-participate fees have shared with us exactly what we’re experiencing — in the first year, parents figure it out, so there isn’t any sign of loss in year one,” Gunner said. “If it continues in the long term, then it starts to have an impact.”

Pay-to-participate fees for athletes will cover transportation fees and coach and adviser salaries. They will also cover athletic director Mike Strohl’s salary and benefits, about $109,000, and athletic secretary Linda Bixler’s salary and benefits, about $27,000.

The district calculated the cost of the fees by adding the total cost of each sport and dividing by the total number of athletes participating in district sports in the past school year, according to data the Register obtained from Crescimano. The fees were calculated in the same way for clubs and music activities, including band and choir.

Fall athletes must pay all their participation fees by Nov. 6, the day after the district’s levy election.

If a majority of voters approve the November levy — identical to the levy they rejected earlier this month — all fees paid up to that point will be refunded. Pay-toparticipate fees will return to $35 for high school sports and $25 for middle school sports. Students participating in band and choir will no longer pay fees.

Perkins Schools pay-to-participate fees

$730 per high school sport

$220 per high school music participation (band or choir)

$185 per middle school sport

$100 per high school or middle school club

Note: The initial club fee approved in June was $150, but board members took action at a special meeting in July to fix a calculation error, which misclassified Ohio Model United Nations as a sport instead of a club and inflated the cost.

Pick up a copy of the Register all this week for more stories on Perkins Schools, including fundraising and private donors offsetting pay-to-participate fee costs.



Of course it is. Nothing dismantled yet but the implementation of extracurricular activity fees for sports and clubs to get votes. Still trying to figure out why the required classes of band and choir are assessed fees. For what? As far as I know, the schools are open for business on Monday. Everyone has their classes scheduled. Sports are all scheduled and in progress. Band is back from camp. Schools look clean and shined up. Buses washed and fueled up. A few teachers hired back. Sadly, a few lost. Enrollment is up, though. Kids have new shoes and backpacks. 1-1 free laptops fired up. Sounds like they're ready to go and it's business as usual. Not sure what all the fuss is about.


As a professional musician and music educator, where do you think music teachers get the money for items like music, band instruments (some bought to rent to students, some rented from local music stores), equipment for instruments, cleaning materials for instruments, music stands and chairs, band and choir music holders (usually folders), uniforms/robes, and transportation to and from events? As a music teacher, I can guarantee you that we canNOT afford all of this from our pockets alone.


Your boosters!!! Equipment not owned by the kids is normally owned by the school since it falls under their insurance/inventory. Stands and chairs are purchased by the school for same said reason. Music/folders can go both ways. Some schools give a stipend for music. Uniforms/Robes? No help for us. We deplete our funds for a stadium project.

So you think that if your band is imposed a fee of $220 per student at roughly 160 students generating $35,200 and let's say 100 choir students generating $22,000 in fees, you'll see any of that $57,200 from the District? Don't think so. Keep practicing and sell more weenies at the concession stand!

Edwin Ison

Parents are banking on a big fat refund check, courtesy of the humble tax payer.

I'm very sure the "district" didn't want this little gem to become public!

"If the November 2013 levy passes...... Refunds for any payments in excess of $35 or $25, respectively, will be made for the sports or co-curricular activities that were paid in the fall of 2013."


Yes, notice the fall sport fee November 6 "due date" is ONE day after the November levy.

And I thought they were cutting specials? Guess that was a lie, too.



1. Can you obtain and publish for the public a final, official listing of names of the teachers and the positions that were eliminated by Gunner compared with what he threatened would be eliminated.

2. Can you ask Gunner to explain how the district has been dismantled as he threatened several times it would be if the levy failed. Additionally, Gunner threatened the Perkins community would "no longer have their school district" if the levy failed. Can you ask and report on how that is the case post-levy failure? (Both threats on video by Register).

3. Can you report on why over 75% of the pay to play fees for the fall season are due AFTER the fall season ends and after the November election? I'm not sure how accurate the statements by Gunner and Strohl are that parents are "figuring it out" and "making it happen" when they have only had to pay 25% of their fees.


Re: "If a majority of voters approve the November levy — identical to the levy they rejected in August — all fees paid up to that point will be refunded."

And one would pay the fees prior to Nov. 6th why?

In the meantime, salaries and costs are being funded how?

Common Sense

Fees are due in increments with the football fee (one portion) due by the first game.
Salaries are frozen for all and the cost of the communications director was eliminated when the director was moved to the principal position at Meadowlawn and more than likely will receive the salary amount of a beginning principal. Insurance proportion is now greater for all staff.
I really feel sorry for those who come here to bully the school. It is apparent that some have nothing better to do.


Re: "I really feel sorry for those who come here to bully the school."

Yea, merely asking questions and attempting to understand the permutations of a Byzantine taxpayer funded school finance structure amounts in your mind to "bullying?"

Reads more like a severe case of:

If you can’t dazzle ‘em with your brilliance, baffle ‘em with bull bleep.

Common Sense

It's one thing to be asked, it's a whole different story with the way some posters rant. Fifteenth green comes to mind as one who is not asking, but is angry about everything and wants to share it with all of us. When you do reply to his questions with a valid answer, he just screws it around to make it seem as if he is totally right. Wonder how many board meetings he/she has attended or when the last time he/she worked for a number of days within the school buildings.


More than you know, tap dancer! Show some common sense and try to persuade folks why they should vote yes.


Bullying is charging $220 fees to Choir and Band members for no reason. If there is a valid reason, please explain.

Common Sense

No. Bullying is being presented the facts and still pushing back because there is no reasoning with some people.


So you think it is ok charging a class $220 to simply go to class, i.e the choir? They don't go anywhere and the music boosters buy their robes, stands and music! Show some common sense.




VOTENO. You are on here all the time! Shouldnt you get a job?


He could be retired but that doesn't matter. All that matters is that he is a registered voter and entitled to his opinion.


Yes, he is entitled to his opinion. I never said other wise, only that he has too much time on his hands. If he feels that strongly about the issues then maybe he should run for school Board and actually do something about it. It’s a lot easier to complain on a newspaper website than to get up and serve your community.


Re: "to get up and serve your community."

As a possible law abiding citizen and taxpayer, VOTENO IS "serving" i.e. contributing to his/her community.


Relax, voteno only has five keys on his keyboard!



Common Sense

The AD position covers all sports from 7th grade through 12th. It includes football, golf (boys and girls - HS), cross country (jr high through high school), tennis (boys and girls - HS), swimming (Jr. high through high school , boys and girls), wrestling (jr. high and HS), basketball (jr. high through HS, boys and girls), volleyball - Jr High and HS, girls), track (jr high and HS, boys and girls), soccer (HS-boys and girls), baseball (HS), and softball (HS). Besides scheduling, there are officials to contact, facilities to make certain are prepared for the events, staying on top of OHSAA rules and regulations, conference meetings to attend, and being available throughout the school day and workers for the events (not all are secured by the booster club). It is not a standard 40-hour work week and there is no overtime pay. Have you ever been an AD? Didn't think so. Neither have I, but these are just some of the things that occur in the office. Oh yes, they sell event tickets as well.


I'm curious where the ticket fees and concessions money go? Can they help defray to costs of pay to play or do they just put it into the general fund?


Not true. The Perkins AD only does grades 9-12. The JH Assistant Principal is the grades 7 & 8 AD. Many schools function in a 7-12 AD fashion, but Perkins does not.


Who, Common Sense be wrong? Never!


All the parents crying about not being able to pay the sports and club fees were crying wolf. They just wanted everyone else to have to pay for their kids. All Gunner's and the levy committee's threats prior to the August vote were obviously scare tactics to secure more money to build the new schools. Now that the lies have been exposed, the guilt trips will be even less effective in November.


First off, I am NOT a Perkins parent. I have one child in band, on in choir. I would NOT be able to afford the FEES for them to be in their classes. My son is in 3 different band classes and my daughter is in 3 different choir classes. Do you need to pay those fees for EACH class, just like EACH sport? I am sorry I would NOT be crying wolf, I cannot pay 220$ for each class my kid takes.


ladydye_5 - The $220 fee is for the total program. Band - $220. Choir - $220. Do you agree with assessing the Band and Choir a fee? As a parent of two in the arts, you're obviously very knowledgeable with these types of programs and what they entail. Why do you think a pay to play fee would be imposed on a class that isn't considered a sport?


No I do not agree with the fee for a class that is not a sport. Especially when in middle school when they are FORCED to take one or the other (at least in our school district). I would NOT pay for a class that is required. I would be speaking to an attorney. You cannot force someone to PAY for something that you are forcing them to take.


In the middle school, it costs $0.