Pay-to-play fees cut

Perkins Schools dealing with new reality.
Alissa Widman Neese
Nov 20, 2013

 

The days of drastically inflated pay-to-participate fees were short-lived for Perkins Schools families.   

About five months after implementing the policy, all five school board members agreed Tuesday to slice the district’s costly fees in half at a special meeting.     

Students will now pay $365 for high school sports this year.   

At a glance
Pay-to-participate fees approved Tuesday
• High school athletics: $365
• High school clubs: $50
• High school band or choir: $110
• Middle school athletics: $92
• Middle school clubs: $50
• High school dual-enrollment classes: $150

The decision is effective for the entire school year, meaning any students who paid to play sports during the fall season will receive refunds or credit toward future activities.   

“It was a difficult decision to set the fees where they were,” board member Terry Chapman said. “To turn around now and do   this today is additionally a difficult decision for this board.”   

The move came less than a week after board members agreed to abandon plans to pursue a building project, and they returned a portion of funds back into the district’s operating fund. In 2011 the board moved the operating funds, called “inside millage,” into a separate account used for building projects.       

The move quickly depleted the district’s operating money, with voters rejecting multiple tax levy proposals to restore it.   

One of the aftereffects: To keep the district’s athletic budget afloat, student pay-to-participate fees skyrocketed, with high schoolers paying as much as $730 per sport this school year.   

The millage move will return about $1.4 million to the district’s operating fund each year, superintendent Jim Gunner said. The district will receive about half that amount in the current school year, with the first payment collected in February.   

The district’s annual budget is about $21 million. Of that, the annual athletic budget is about $600,000.   

“In terms of our total budget, this is a relatively small pool of money,” board president Matt Kosior said. “Our new five-year forecast will demonstrate we’ll be in need of a levy soon. We’re obviously not out of the woods at this point.”   

Perkins Schools is currently updating its five-year financial forecast, which should be available in December, treasurer Lisa Crescimano said.   

Additionally, once coaches submit their winter sports rosters, the district will notify each student about their potential refunds or balance of funds due, which Crescimano is currently calculating, she said.   

Board members haven’t determined fee amounts for the upcoming school year.   

About 20 people attended Tuesday’s meeting, with two questioning the specifics of fee prices and collections and one speaking in favor of the board’s decision.  

 

Comments

sandtownbucks

I and a lot of other people are glad the BOE made this decision although I am sure it was tough. It is another step in the right direction to bring the community back together to support the school system! Although the community does not know all the figures when it comes to the districts finances the board has to communicate and keep a positive perspective when dealing with the community. Thanks again and let's all move forward in a positive direction!

Sandusksquach

The athletic director will now only make $100k a year. Just kidding!

qbroi567

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Raoul Duke

I still say that the only thing a kid needs is, to learn how to handle a weapon properly, and to identify the enemy.

themomx6

Is that $365 per sport or for the whole year? Per sport, it still seems high.

mikesee

Is band and choir mandatory classes or elective? If mandatory I don't get the fee.

Bherrle

Elective

Nemesis

It really shouldn't be about mandatory or elective. It should be about whether it's academic or recreational. Do students receive academic credits toward satisfying graduation requirements, and a grade that affects their GPA and is reported on their transcript? Music is an academic subject, football is not. The schools job is to educate, not to entertain.

BabyMomma

I said it before, if each sport had to pay for itself football would be free and all the other sports would triple in price. Football is not the problem, it's a huge money maker for all sports. You don't get 5,000 people showing up to watch the swim team.

Nemesis

Oh well, that's life. No one will pay to watch me do a lot of things I like to do, but they'll pay a gazillion dollars to watch Lady Ga Ga sing derivative songs dressed like a carnival freak. Life is SOOOOOO unfair. You choose your recreational preferences with your eyes open, and live with the consequences of your choices.

I happen to like sports that draw no spectators and for which no high school will probably EVER have a program. Do you see me asking you to pony up to pay for gas for my dirt bike, or to buy me a new SCUBA regulator or a new pair of ski boots?

BabyMomma

You brought up football, I was saying that football isn't what you are paying for, it is self sufficient. If you need a couple bucks for fuel, let me know buddy, we can go ridin.

Nemesis

Football is an example of a sport; I could just as easily said synchronized swimming or badminton.

I have the fuel covered; what I need is a place to go riding that isn't 3 hours away.

BabyMomma

That's what I'm saying. I ride on 4 wheels but we fight the same fight. Nowhere around here to ride without getting harassed or ticketed

Bherrle

Nemesis,

From following your posts during the past several weeks, it's obvious you have an educated opinion, and that is appreciated. It is something that has been somewhat lacking on this site.

You have an opinion, which you are fully entitled too, on Athletics that seems to be centered on the premise that they are pure entertainment, that there is no educational value in them, and therefore should be fully funded by those who participate, not the school district. Please correct me if my read on your opinion is wrong.

I and many others disagree with your opinion. Without going into a long explanation, our opinion is that educational value does exist in athletics, for numerous reasons, whether or not it is a grade on the report card.

If we are to start requiring participants to fully fund certain aspects of the educational system, where does it stop? Why stop at the report card? If one doesn't think French has value, or Drama, why not make them fully paid by the participants? These are not my opinions, just examples. I also understand that by law there are certain subjects that are required, and those that are not.

Richard Cranium

Well they figured they would squeeze people into passing the levy by charges mega fees. Since that didn't and the levy failed, they lowered it. Nice. Why didn't they have a $365 in the first place? How do you all of a sudden drop fees by 50%?

BabyMomma

Because they moved money back into the general fund. Read the article, let it process, then type. You will look less foolish.

Thomas Paine

To continue a discussion on another school blog, about Private schools vs. Public and running a school like a business. I came across this article today. The dispatch historically leans to the right a little in its reporting. So I found this interesting. http://www.dispatch.com/content/...

Nemesis

What's your point?

Thomas Paine

Nothing to do with Pay to play; just food for thought about education in general. I believe you were advocating private education over public education. If I remember correctly. Both systems can work and both have their own issues. From a centrist point of view merging the two ideas together would be in everyones best interest. I think we all lose if the pro private group "wins" over the pro public or vice versa.

Nemesis

Here's why public isn't a viable option. You cannot effectively educate without indoctrinating. The kids who want to learn, whose families value education and pass on those values - they will learn anywhere. The ones who don't want to learn, who don't value learning - you can't educate them without telling them their priorities and values are crap, and instilling new ones. That's a problem if the government is running the school in a country that guarantees freedom of conscience. You can't have effective public schools without taking a big steaming turd on the First Amendment.

There are a lot of things that you can't have the government do and still have a free country. Education is one of them.

Thomas Paine

Please explain how public education violates first amendment rights? Are you suggesting we would be better off not educating children whose families don't value education? Its a petty stance to have if thats what you believe. Its also insulting. My father was given an opportunity with public education to get out of poverty and get away from family that didn't value education. He was able to put me through college because public education existed. And if you believe private industry, church, home schooling or any other kind of education doesn't 'indoctrinate' you are kidding yourself. Even our founding fathers believed in public education. The opportunity for a basic education should never be just for the wealthy or children whose families value it.

Thomas Paine

And just because we are a 'free' nation doesn't mean we should have zero laws, regulations or some form of government. The idea that we are truly 'free' and not bound by some kind of society is absurd.

Nemesis

Wow, you're all over the place in a disjointed way that does NOT speak well for the public school you attended.

Missed point 1:I never said anything about not having the public PAY for every child to get an education, I said the government shouldn't be directly delivering the educational services. Our K-12 schools are the laughing stock of the developed world, while our post secondary system is one of our biggest export products. TONS of people attend private universities on the public dime.

Missed point 2: I never said private schools don't indoctrinate - I said ALL effective education requires indoctrination. The point is, it's perfectly OK for a private organization to indoctrinate kids all they want, with their parents' consent, because they are not state actors. Therein lies the 1st Amendment problem - the GOVERNMENT cannot engage in indoctrination without violating freedom of conscience.

In the other thread I outlined how another country improved their education system by effectively going to 100% vouchers. I never said anything about excluding the poor. Maybe you should try reading for comprehension before getting your knickers in a knot.

As for your second response, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? Of course we have laws, but the single most important one is the one that says the government can't be dictating values and beliefs.

Thomas Paine

1. The idea of public dollars going to private entities makes me cringe. There is no accountability to the public once the money is in private hands. At least you can attempt to create accountability when it stays in public hands. Granted our government has done a very poor job with accountability. As far as the poor your previous statement seems to imply just that, maybe it was unintended but the statement comes across that way. The only way the poor receive an education is with some public funding. There is not enough profit for a private industry to get involved without it.

2. There are plenty of Supreme Court rulings concerning the first amendment (Tinker, Fraser, Hazelwood) and public schools.

3. You should look at Finlands education system which proves public education can work. There are very few private schools in Finland and the country is usually among the top rated education systems in the world.

4. Doesn't the idea of any law by government in general dictate values and beliefs to a certain extent? (Completely off topic and will probably open up a can of worms but gay marriage comes to mind.)

Nemesis

"The idea of public dollars going to private entities makes me cringe."

Then you have a LOT of problems to fix. It must make your head explode with all the food stamp money being spent at Kroger, WalMart, and Meijer, We'll have to do something about all those old people handing over their social security money to BP and Shell to fill up their cars on the way to visit their grandkids. No more financial aid to attend private universities.

"There is no accountability to the public once the money is in private hands. "

There's the accountability of the marketplace. If a private school doesn't deliver value, parents take their kids, and their money, elsewhere.

"At least you can attempt to create accountability when it stays in public hands. Granted our government has done a very poor job with accountability."

And I suppose you see no irony in the juxtaposition of those two sentences. Government is the very definition of NON-accountability, because its relationship with consumers is coercive.

"As far as the poor your previous statement seems to imply just that, maybe it was unintended but the statement comes across that way. The only way the poor receive an education is with some public funding. "

And I never condemned public FUNDING of education. I've now
twice held up as an example a nation that went to a full voucher system, which involves public FUNDING of education. It's not my fault if you don't pay attention.

"There are plenty of Supreme Court rulings concerning the first amendment (Tinker, Fraser, Hazelwood) and public schools."

And your point is? So you think that means everything is constitutionally hunky dory? The Supreme Court once ruled that African Americans were not people; are you really that willing to let them do your thinking for you? I'm talking about freedom of conscience. If you want to raise your kid to believe that education is a load of crap, that what the pop culture flavor of the month has to say is more important than what the teacher has to say, and knowing just how to wear pants with the waistband around one's knees is a more important skill than long division, that is your inalienable right, and the government has no business interfering, any more than it has business making a Muslim kid recite a Christian prayer.

"There are very few private schools in Finland and the country is usually among the top rated education systems in the world."

And Finland has a problematic record when it comes to free speech.

"Doesn't the idea of any law by government in general dictate values and beliefs to a certain extent? (Completely off topic and will probably open up a can of worms but gay marriage comes to mind.)"

No. With some notable and constitutionally problematic exceptions, like hate crime specifications. laws proscribe actions, not beliefs. The marriage question drags values and beliefs improperly into the political arena because of government's illegitimate intrusion into the business of sanctioning relationships in the first place. For roughly half this country's existence, there was no such thing as a marriage license.

There's really no essential difference between public schools and the USSR's Young Pioneers. Today conservatives are unhappy about leftist social and economic indoctrination in the public schools, while 50 years ago, leftists complained about conservative and Christian indoctrination. There's no way to have public schools without every curriculum decision becoming a political football and without stepping on some parents' rights to raise their kids according to their beliefs. The only way to preserve freedom of conscience is to let all parents choose schools that suit their beliefs, REGARDLESS of what you or I might think of those beliefs.

Thomas Paine

WOW Comparing public schools to the USSR Young Pioneers? Do some more research before making that comparison. I am sorry you feel its a valid comparison. I will have to end the discussion with that comparison.

Nemesis

Both are programs where parents hand over their children to the government to be indoctrinated in the views the preferred by those currently in power. You're welcome to point out ways in which it doesn't apply. Instead, you take the typical leftist cop out shut down the conversation by pointing and screaming "heretic, beyond the pale."

Nemesis

The real question is whether these fees cover the cost of the program. The proper way to calculate the fees is to divide the athletic budget by the number of participants. The new fee level works if there are 1644 sport-participants (one student playing two sports would count as two sport-participants.) So, if there are 16 sports with an average of 103 participants each, it's about right. If not, then it needs to be adjusted.

lifetimeresident

Am I wrong or was the entire footballs teams fees donated by an outside source?

Bherrle

That is not correct. An unsubstantiated rumor that was not true.

Truth or Dare

I have a question regarding income generated through the sports programs; Does Baseball, Softball, Golf, Tennis and Cross-Country Track provide any income to help pay for their supplemental (coaching) contracts, uniforms and equipment needed? That would include the cost of maintenance/upkeep for equipment such as fields, courts and courses used along with transportation. I know that FB, Soccer, Track, Basketball (girls and boys), Volleyball, Swimming and Wrestling does, and forgive me if I missed a sport.

themomx6

When my children were in school, they HAD to take either band or choir. One or the other. Did this change? If not, how can they charge for it?

Nemesis

I believe the state graduation standards require one year of some art, be it a visual art, music, or drama.

Bherrle

Nemesis is correct. There are a number of courses that satisfy that requirement outside of band or choir.

ladydye_5

Yes there is a fine arts credit that is required to graduate. And some schools require it in middle school to "expose" kids to something new. I would NOT pay for something that is REQUIRED.

PyrkinsPyrate

So Gunner and company jacked up the pay to play fees and it was effective in motivating a handful of people to go out and support the levy, until they realized how foolish they looked for harassing the entire township to raise their taxes to pay for their child's entertainment. Now I just wonder how long the board thinks it will take us to forget all of their nonsense, lies and bad expenditures (the 3.5 to design a school that we rejected, the 1.7M for the stadium, the laptops). I bet they are hoping to slip a new levy on the ballot within a year. Who thinks I am wrong? Have I been wrong yet?

Justme...

I don't think you're wrong, but consider the possibility they would be on the ballot at this point anyway, had all this not occurred. Its been a long time since Perkins has passed new money, and schools have no other way to increase revenue. Open enrollment helps stretch it out, but its not enough.

Nemesis

But they do have another way - fixed term levies are recalculated to present property values upon renewal. You should NEVER vote for a permanent levy, because as soon as there's any inflation, they'll be back to ask for more millage. Of course, they'll ask for more than inflation could ever justify, because they know that most voters can't or won't do the math to catch them.

Food For Thought

Wait Wait Wait! I thought that we were going to have to close the schools if the levy failed, now we are lowering the pay to play fees. To paraphrase a well know tv personality "School Board, You has some splainin' to do"!

I love it, no voters were vilified when we said this would happen, yet another transparent ploy that didn't work with the voters.

gene44870

Its sounds to me like they are tring to make a profit from charging the students to play Sports and other things that should be free

Nemesis

First of all, as I pointed out, this doesn't even cover the costs of the programs, let alone make a profit.

Second, why should ENTERTAINMENT for your kids be free? Why should we be taxed, taking away money we could spend on our own kids' recreational preferences, to subsidize your kids' recreational preferences?

Food For Thought

Wait Wait Wait! I thought that we were going to have to close the schools if the levy failed, now we are lowering the pay to play fees. To paraphrase a well know tv personality "School Board, You has some splainin' to do"!

I love it, no voters were vilified when we said this would happen, yet another transparent ploy that didn't work with the voters.

eriemom

What other decisions has this school board or administration made in the last couple of years that have divided us? Can we take a good look at cost expenditures that can be cut or reduced? Let's get this community together. We're on the right track.

worddrow811

I have no interest in perkins other than if I understand what is going on so please correct me if I'm wrong. Student A can afford to pay for participating in sports and is a below average athlete. Student B has superb athletic ability but cannot afford to pay to play. Now they have lowered the fees but student B still cannot play.

Nemesis

That sounds correct. What's your question or point, or did you simply want to know it that was the case?

worddrow811

I wanted to know if that was the case. Thank you.

The New World Czar

Ironic that the rates went down after PHS gets beaten in the football playoffs.

OldTiger

Just wondered if the $600,000 was after the admissions of the games?