Facing a growing deficit, the Avon Lake School District began reviewing the option of increasing pay-to-participate fees, which have been in effect since 2006.
Raising the fees is part of the district’s strategy to reduce the number of staff lay-offs needed to get the five-year forecast out of the red for fiscal year 2014.
Currently, families pay a one-time annual fee of $200 for high school extracurricular activities with a family cap of $350, and $100 for middle school, with a $150 family cap.
The possible new fee structure being considered is a one-time annual fee of $400 for the first high school with a $500 to $600 family cap and $200 for the first middle school student with a $250 to $300 family cap, beginning in the 2013-14 school year. The board began discussions on the item at its monthly board meeting Jan. 8.
All pay-to-participate funds are used to pay coach and supervisor stipends, School Superintendent Bob Scott said.
The move would result in savings of $118,000 per year.
"Over five years it’s over half a million dollars that goes into the revenue stream," Scott said, noting that many districts are going the pay-to-participate route.
Board member Ron Jantz, noting the savings was a small percentage of the budget, asked about other options.
“Athletics is less than 1 percent of total budget; is there a better place to look than athletics?” Jantz asked.
Co-curricular activities -- those taught during the day but with performance requirements outside the school day, such as choir, band and marching band -- are not part of pay-to-participate.
Scott said the board is looking at any activity where the school district needs to pay an adult to supervise outside the school day. There may be an added fee for co-curricular activities next year.
Scott said there was no noticeable decrease in participation in extracurricular activities since the fees were implemented in 2006 after back-to-back levy failures in 2005.
“The discussion by the board is to set an amount that helps defray the cost of the activities, but they do not want to raise the fees to the point where students can not afford to participate,” Scott said Jan. 9. “Participation in activities outside the classroom is important to our students and is one of the reasons for the high percentage of student success after graduation.”
More school board meetings are scheduled for Jan. 16 and 29 to continue discussions on this and other potential cost-saving moves discussed Jan. 8.
The meetings will be at 7 p.m. in the Avon Lake High School Media Room.