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School District Pleased with Pay-to-Play Installment Process

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Copyright 2013 Dayton Newspapers, Inc.

Dayton Daily News (Ohio)
October 12, 2013 Saturday
LOCAL & STATE; Pg. B1
506 words
Huber: Most sports fees paid;
Final installment of $428 per-sport payment due Tuesday.;
IN OUR SCHOOLS
By Steven Matthews

HUBER HEIGHTS - The Huber Heights school district is in the process of collecting the third and fi nal payment for fall sports participation fees. District offi cials said they are pleased with how the process has been going.

The district has collected $95,308.65 and expects to collect another $34,000-plus by Tuesday, which is when the fi - nal payment of $142 is due for the fall season.

In late July, the school board voted to reduce pay-to-play fees from $750 to $428 per student per sport - with a $1,200 family cap - and re-implement a payment plan.

Treasurer Ann Bernardo said she anticipates some participation fees will go uncollected, but it is unclear how much at this point. Students who do not pay their third installment will be ineligible to participate in another sport until the fall sport is paid off , she said.

There are 304 students in grades seven through 12 participating in fall sports, and eight of them have not kept up with their payments, Bernardo said.

The district will review the non-payment status after Tuesday.

"We're glad that people are keeping up with the payments," she said. "It eases the stress on the general fund."

According to athletic director and football coach Jay Minton, the participation number is down 90 students compared to last fall.

He said the $428 fee likely is the reason for the drop in numbers.

"It's a hardship for families, but the payment plan is a godsend," Min-ton said. "It's been tough, but all the student-athletes have paid."

The structure for the winter sports season is that a $143 payment is due Nov. 15, another $143 is due Dec. 15 and the remaining $142 is due Jan. 15. The three payments for spring sports are the same amounts.

It is too early to determine what the participation fee will be for next school year, Bernardo said.

"I'm glad we were able to implement a payment plan because it's probably made a difference," board president Kelly Bledsoe said. "It'd be great at some point in the future if we could reduce those fees."

In April, the board approved a policy that required the full payment be paid before the start of the season. At that time, Huber Heights officials determined the district did not receive all of the participation fees during the 2012-13 school year. Bernardo previously said there was a shortage of about $30,000 last school year.

It costs approximately $771,500 annually to support athletics and extracurriculars, and this year's participation fee is projected to generate approximately $385,200.

Bernardo said there is no money expected to be used from the general fund at this time to support athletics because of gate receipts, a reduction in transportation costs and the ongoing fundraising efforts by the athletic department's Champions Club. The Huber Heights Athletic Foundation donated $25,000 last month and another $25,000 donation is expected this year, she said.

As part of $6.4 million in cuts approved in January, the participation fee for sports was scheduled to increase from $225 to $750 per student per sport with no family cap.

October 12, 2013

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