In late spring/early summer of 2010, I detailed the current trend toward increasing athletic fees for students playing high school sports.
This reality truly hit home in the town of Arlington [Massachusetts] this year as a large group of students and parents met to discuss the establishment of a new "advisory committee" to look into the issue of funding for high school sports.
The piece from boston.com, Parents pack School Committee meeting over athletic fee hikes, discusses how the considerable increase angered parents who wanted to know "why the athletic fees have in some instances more than doubled..." as "...parents called for the school district [to] restore a cap that would prevent some families from paying several thousand dollars in athletic fees."
The article states:
"The committee increased the fees from a range of $235 to $315 for one sport during the last school year to a range of $408 to $720 during the current year. The committee also dropped a discount for students playing a second sport, as well as the policy of charging no fee for a third team, and a cap that prevented any family from paying more than $850 per year."
The district's concern centered on closing a $4 million dollar gap in their budget without having to eliminate any sports.
As I alluded to in the linked articles above, this is probably only the beginning as school districts across the country come under financial pressure to make cuts somewhere in order to balance their budgets. This one story in Arlington reports that the athletic costs for this year alone are over half-a-million dollars.
That is no small drop-in-the-bucket, and costs will not likely decrease. The money has to come from somewhere or, as sad as it is for me to say, something will have to be cut.
That is unless districts are allowed to bury themselves in huge debt like our state and federal governments do. Look how wonderful that has turned out, right?
At any rate, the bottom line will probably be that parents of athletes will have to pick up these extra costs for their own sports-minded offspring.
Can anybody say, "CORPORATE SPONSORSHIP!!!" (sarcasm intended)