At the September 28 Board of Education (BOE) meeting, I made a presentation to the Board outlining the current participation fee structure for athletic programs, co-curricular music programs, club activities and theater programs. At the direction of the Board, I returned on October 12 to present options that would reduce the participation fees for those activities. At the October 26 BOE meeting, the Board unanimously approved a resolution to amend the approved 2015-2016 Fee Schedule which resulted in immediate reduced participation fees for those programs.
So What Does That Mean?
To start the school year, the participation fees for Westerville were $240 per sport in high school, $120 per sport in middle school, $50 for marching band, choirs, and orchestra, $50 for each theater production, and $15 for certain non-academic clubs with a supplemental contract - with no family cap. As a result of the reductions, the new fees, effective immediately, are:
- Athletics High School: $150 for the 1st sport, $75 for the 2nd sport, the 3rd sport is free
- Athletics Middle School: $75 for the 1st sport, $50 for the 2nd sport, the 3rd sport is free
- $50 for co-curricular music programs - this fee will be eliminated beginning with the 2016-2017 school year
- A ONE-TIME $50 fee for theater productions instead of per-performance - this fee will be eliminated beginning with the 2016-2017 school year
- Clubs: $15 for non-academic clubs with a supplemental contract - this fee will be eliminated beginning with the 2016-1017 school year
- The most significant feature of the reductions is the implementation of a total family cap of $300 for these fees.
Even though the new fee schedule became effective on October 26 and is not applicable for the Fall Sports season, the consideration for the the $300 family cap will be retroactive to all participation fees paid to this point of the school year.
- A single student in a household played a fall high school sport for $240 and will also play a sport in the winter. Even though the new fee for a 2nd high school sport is $75, with the family cap of $300, the student would only be required to pay $60, which is the amount that would reach the cap. Incidentally, the student would not pay another participation fee for the remainder of the school year.
- A household had a student play a fall sport at the middle school level ($120) and a student play a fall sport at the high school level ($240). The fees at that amount were applicable for the fall season, however with a total payment of $360, the family has now exceeded the new $300 cap and any activities for students in that household in the winter and/or the spring will be free. There will not be a refund of $60 because the family cap was not in effect in the fall.
The district also authorizes the opportunity for community-based club sports (boys & girls Bowling, Boys Volleyball, Gymnastics, boys & girls Lacrosse) that are not funded by the Westerville Board of Education but are conditionally allowed so that students are able to compete in those activities for their respective high schools. Since the Board does not financially support those activities or collect any participation fees, the Pay to Participate fees do not apply to them.
Athletic Directors at our middle and high schools have compiled a data base of students and their participation fees paid to this point in the school year. Please be patient and communicate with our ADs and their staff when further participation fees are required for activities this school year to ensure consistency and accurate financial accountability between our schools and families.
We are excited to be able to provide financial relief for our families with active students, and look forward to watching Westerville students participate in our top quality programs.