In what was a unanimous decision by the Neah-Kah-Nie School District board the powers that be have decided to dispense with the Pay-to-Play participation fee that currently is in place within the school district’s athletics program.
By Brian Cameron
Pay-to-Play was first instituted about six years ago and was intended to fill the financial gap left in relation to NKN’s athletics program. The generated revenue from the fees went into paying the associated costs of the sporting events which helped the district’s athletics afford to operate and grow.
According to the Neah-Kah-Nie School District Board Chair Terry Kelly it was a program that had served its purpose and was actually acting as a disservice to students who may want to participate in athletics.
“The thinking here is that currently the district is in a good spot,” Kelly said. “We looked at what other districts had done and it seemed that by eliminating the Pay-to-Play program it actually served to popularize the athletics possibilities for students.”
Recently the school district has found that the $10,000 in funds the Pay-to-Play fees generate can be covered by their general budget and by waiving the fees the district hopes it will open more opportunities for students to get involved in the school’s athletics options.
The Pay-to-Play initiative was first started when the budget for the NKN district was much tighter and it was decided then that the costs associated with school athletics could be passed onto the families instead of being otherwise covered by the school. The fee was $75 per sport and had a maximum cap of $250 per household. Students who were utilizing the free and reduced lunch program were not charged the Pay-to-Play fee and despite the benefits of the added revenue the district unanimously chose to rescind the fee.
“The board hopes that by eliminating the Pay-to-Play it will encourage more students to participate in extra-curricular athletics,” said NKN Superintendent Paul Erlebach. “The board believes participation in athletics promotes team building, physical fitness, responsibility and social interaction.”
Changes to the policy won’t go into effect until August of this year which will time it perfectly for fall sports season at Neah-Kah-Nie.
“We are a healthy district,” said Kelly. “I thought there was no reason we couldn’t pull back on this and absorb the cost.”