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.



Right, use the Middle School Choir loophole. Why was band eliminated then?


Why don't you call the school, rather than turning to the SR comments for answers?


Please! Think they'll be honest about it? It's simple math for two very simple programs. Where is the money going?


Her question was, do you need to pay that fee for each class. I doubt this is the best source for that answer.


I think one sport, activity or club should be provided but the parents should pay for more than one. I don't see the need to provide several sports and activities to one student.


I just did the math. According to Register 622 students participated in district sports last year. 622 students times 730 dollars is $454,060. That's quite a chunk of change for the district. Can the board and Mr. Gunner tell the voters exactly where it is going?


I don't think that figure includes the various Clubs, Choir and Band/Music fees, either


They have - its been in past articles. It covers AD, asst., transportation, coaches...all the costs associated with sports.


Ok, so the Band and Choir are going to spend roughly $60,000 in gas to five football games and eight contests combined? The budget pays for teaching salaries and supplementals. The boosters do a great job of supporting the rest. Last I checked, these are classes for credit.

Common Sense

Yes, these are classes. However, because the classes reach beyond the traditional school day (after school practices and events), the band and choir pay a supplement to continue to be able to attend all events they have scheduled. Most events are scheduled anywhere from 3 months to a year or more in advance. This would also explain why it is legal fo rthem to collect this fee from its participants. For those who wish to avoid the fee, there are a number of art classes as well as a music theory class that would cover their requirement for Fine Arts.


For $220, these "classes" should cease reaching beyond the traditional school day.


I understand that the band fees are to cover director’s supplemental contracts, transportation to games and contests as well as entrance fees for those contests.


$60,000 - Transportation to five away games? Why go then? Are the students required to go to five football games and contests if they can't afford the fees? Contest entrance fees are paid for by the boosters and are minimal plus we host our own. Probably being charged for that. Thanks for reminding me.

Why supplementals for the Choir directors and Band directors? Isn't their pay in relation to the students state, accredited classroom curriculum?

Common Sense

In addition to the transportation to five games and five contests, that money goes to pay for fuel, general maintenance for the busses (the band uses more than one), and the bus drivers. The Choir and Band directors receive supplementals for their work as their work often extends beyond the traditional school day. Examples: After-school practices, attendance at games and contests (after school hours), travel time to those games and contests, summer band, etc.


The Choir Director's two supplementals pertain to nothing. Middle School and High School choir supplementals??? That's it. And Why? In addition to the base salary. There are no after school rehearsals or lessons for either.

The band. Thursday night band only and that isn't necessary, only by choice. Games and contests shouldn't be mandatory then if they are going to cost the parents $220. Many schools have eliminated participation in these events for this very reason. Travel time to away games? This after school activity is solely in support of an athletic event and has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with their education. Bus maintenance? Are you kidding me? Again, don't use them by only playing at home games and attending your own contest...at home. Northcoast actually generates revenue and gets some use out of that stadium other than five football games, a few soccer matches and track meets. Christmas concert fee? $36,000 Christmas concert? Then charge for the concert.

The Choir program goes to two contests by choice, no after school rehearsals, no bus maintenance, buys their own robes and music, no summer program, no evening rehearsal, no extended rehearsals beyond the normal school day that are required.....$22,000 based on 100 kids! I've heard there's more in the classes. Is that for a Christmas concert? A $22,000 Christmas concert. Nice Perkins. Insanity, Common Sense, but you go ahead and keep defending them and their fees!

Also, why are we not charging $220 for Art Class? Same thing. The art students just don't draw and paint at an athletic event!!! Maybe we should make them so we can generate more revenue by charging $220 a piece.


Band and Choir are taken for academic credit. Athletics and social clubs are not academic disciplines.


I will be so shocked if this levy passes in November. Never gonna happen.




This is getting way out of hand. A lot of people who supported past levies are now questioning the direction of the school and its leaders.


First of all in talking to an attorney out of the Columbus area Perkins cannot charge for the music classes like they are trying too. That could very well fall under extortion and the pi$$ poor way things have been handled over the last few years I would not bat an eye to battle this school system in court! Band and choir are classes for credits......


ACLU sues California schools over excessive fees. Michigan school charges $300 for Chromebook program.







Common Sense

I believe that if you will look at the reply I gave to fifteenth green concerning the fee for these classes, you will see that these classes extend beyond the normal school day and therefore, a fee can be instituted. If the student or parent does not wish to participate in the events or pay the fee, there are additional art classes and, I believe(but it may have had to be eliminated) a music theory to satisfy their Fine Arts requirements.


No music theory. The $220 fee needs to be eliminated, especially for the choir. They don't leave the school except for two contests a year. $220 for choir is going to be challenged via the proper legal channels for sure. Band is a stretch but at the very minimum, away games and competitions should be optional to students who don't or can't afford the fee. Currently, if you miss an after school game, parade or competition, you are docked a grade per occurrence. After school is my point!!!! After. Are you docked a grade for missing a football game or basketball practice?


Saw this posted on Facebook today and felt it was a bit humorous, as well as appropriate to our current situation.

"I've got a crazy budget idea. Let's fully fund the schools, and make the prisons make up their budget deficits with Box Tops for Education and money from Target."

Stop and think about it - we nickel and dime our education systems in this country, at every level, but we spend whatever we need to on the legal and penal system.


So true!


I have been saying for years, change the way we fund schools. Several lawsuits have been filed and upheld in courts..the current way is against the Ohio Constitution. I am not retired, but I would rather see an earned income tax be the way to support our schools, stop hammering our senior citizens and let those of us that work pay the way. My parents passed every levy that came down the lane, and they can't afford more, I don't want to see them have to downsize in their retirement...they paid my way. My dad has a decent retirement, probably around 35k pension/ss, he is making way less retired than he was working and saved money so he could retire maintain what he had...if taxes keep going up, he'll have to downsize and that is not fair. It's not like he has 4 cars and a 3000 sq ft home. I would rather my generation pay my own way.


Actually the original was something bout schools having all sorts of money and the Airforce's having to have a bake sale to buy a new warplane. What's the difference though, you want everyone else's money to go to your pet project.

red white and blue

Maybe they should turn in there mac books or merg with sandusky


You just proved why we will never "merg" with Sandusky.