Highline School Board Votes To Adopt “Pay For Play” System

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The Highline school board announced Thursday (July 16th) that it has voted to adopt a “Pay for Play” system, which will charge students a fee for participation in middle school and high school athletics.

While some school board members expressed concern that the fees will discourage students from participating in sports, Superintendent John Welch told the board staff that he is working with the Highline Schools Foundation for Excellence to establish a scholarship program.

“We will work hard to see that no student is turned away from playing a sport,” said Welch.

Welch said the fees are necessary to support the rising costs of athletic programs.

“In order to continue to offer both middle and high school sports, we must implement a pay-for-play fee structure,” said Welch. “If we don’t charge a fee, we will have to cut some sports.”

Welch noted that Highline’s athletic offerings now include middle school soccer in response to high demand and strong community support for adding that program.

The fee structure will be in place for the 2009-10 school year.

For high school sports, the fees will be:

  • $50 per sport ($25 per sport for students who qualify for free or reduced lunch)
  • Fees will be charged for up to two sports per student per year; there is no charge for a third season.
  • Maximum $175 per family per year ($85 for families qualifying for free or reduced lunch)

Fees for middle school sports will be:

  • $30 per sport ($15 for students who qualify for free or reduced lunch)

Fees will be chared for up to two sports per student per year; there is no charge for a third season. Maximum costs will be $105 per family per year ($50 for families qualifying for free or reduced lunch).

We here at The B-Town Blog would love to know what you think of this idea – please vote in our Poll and/or leave a Comment below…

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6 Responses to “Highline School Board Votes To Adopt “Pay For Play” System”
  1. Lora says:

    This is not a small nominal fee the district is assessing. I would like to know how much money the district is currently lacking in their funding and exactly how this money will be allocated. Also, even if their is funding to help those without the resources to pay the fee, kids will automatically be dissuaded from joining these sports, or made to feel as though they are getting yet another handout.

    • Facts about Highline Public Schools’ Budget Shortfall

      Why does Highline Public Schools have a budget shortfall?
      Sixty-five to 70% of district revenue comes the state. The state faces a $9 billion shortfall, so cuts to public education funding were inevitable. Total cuts in state funding to Highline for next school year are about $6 million. That means Highline has to trim about $6 million in personnel and programs for the 2009-10 school year.

      Don’t property taxes pay for schools?
      Some, but not all, of your property taxes go to schools. About 20% of district revenue comes from property taxes through voter-approved school levies. Schools cannot collect more dollars than voters approved. Even though taxes and property values may increase, school district revenue from property taxes does not increase because of the legal limit on school levy collection.

      Why is the district instituting a fee for athletics?
      The Highline school board has resisted instituting a fee for athletics for many years while neighboring districts have done so. However, due to major state funding cuts this year, the board determined that the sports fees were necessary in order to avoid deeper cuts in educational programs. The fee is will help cover the rising cost of athletics and enable the district to continue all the athletic programs it currently offers. Without the fee, some sports programs would have to be cut.

      What cuts in central administration are being made?
      The following positions are to be eliminated or reduced:
      -Executive Director of Elementary & Middle Schools 1.0 Full Time Equivalent (FTE)
      -Director of Recruitment and Retention 1.0
      -Principal on Special Assignment 1.0
      -Nutrition Services Manager 1.0
      -Investigator, Safety and Security 1.0
      -Manager, Assessment and Evaluation 1.0
      -Coordinator of Budget and Financial Reporting 1.0
      -Receptionist 1.0
      -Instructional Technology Coordinator 1.0
      -Assistant Director of Recruitment and Retention 1.0
      -Assistant Director of Communication 0.25
      •Hiring for two positions in Teaching and Learning have been postponed.
      •Cost of living raises have been eliminated for administrator and manager positions.
      •One day furlough for all administrators, managers, professional-technical and administrative assistant staff
      •Contingency budget for superintendent and board eliminated
      •Communication products and publications reduced
      -Reduce overtime and extra service in Human Resources

      What cuts in centralized support services are being made?
      •Eliminate math/literacy coach positions 20.0 Full Time Equivalent (FTE)
      •Reduce warehouse/nutrition services staff 1.5
      •Restructure custodial services 2.0
      •Restructure maintenance/grounds services 2.0
      •Reduce transportation office staff 0.55
      •Reduce security services 0.9

      Has the budget shortfall resulted in teacher lay-offs?
      The district was forced to lay off 63 teachers, but has been able to hire most of them back due to retirements, resignations, and federal stimulus dollars.

      What other cost-cutting measures have been instituted?
      The district will implement many cuts and cost-cutting measures district-wide. For details, please go to http://www.hsd401.org.

  2. There is no question that many of us had the “luxury” of participating in as many sports and activities as we wanted when attending Pacific and MRHS. Without sports many (this one included) would have had a less than “academic” experience. As of late, we’re in a very challenging financial era and those of us who had the opportunity to play for free should perhaps get our checkbooks out and write a $50 check to the Highline Schools Fund for Excellence. This particular situation reminds of a 1970’s ad for Midas: “You can pay me now or you can pay me later”,. Kids (boys and girls) need sports to get several needs met not the least of which is belonging to something collectively positive and exposure to adult role models.

    Larry Snyder
    MSHS 1980

  3. Mysty Beal says:

    …and here comes another Eyman initiative to cripple the schools and cities, and a throng of people willing to vote for it to “send a message to Olympia”. Here’s YOUR message, Eyman voters – when his initiatives pass, you lose your parks, your pools, your police and school sports. Blame Olympia if you want, but government doesn’t generate revenue, it collects it to pay for the services we tell them we want.

    You bet I’m willing to pay for play, and I’m glad the sports programs weren’t eliminated outright. Over 500 of us parents participated in this open budget process – if you weren’t there, then check the hsd401 website before you start demanding answers.

    If the Eyman initiative passes, I hope it will prove the impetus for this state to finally institute a fair and equitable state income tax, instead of them trying to tax the poor while giving the wealthy a free ride.

    • Rob says:

      Right on misty- Eyman doesn’t goive a sh*t about students or people, This just another move on his part to collect donations instead of getting a job like the rest of america

  4. HHS MOM says:

    So with the pay to play, for both sports and bank, kids will no longer be required to purchase A.S.B. cards. Right?

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