‘Pay to play’ at least a year away

By on July 20, 2011

By: MICHELLE REIFF Record Express Staff, Staff Writer

Warwick School District is considering using a flat fee system, dependent on grade, rather than a tiered one, for the proposed extra-curricular activities charge, announced Todd Rucci, Student Activities Committee chair, during a July meeting. The target date for the implementation of this proposed program is the 2012-2013 school year.

The school board sub-committee began discussing the possibility of instituting this charge several months ago as a way to maintain the quality of its programs, particularly in grades seven and up. Research was done both locally and across the state, looking in particular at school districts like Elizabethtown and Contestoga Valley.

A recent online survey was made available to parents of students and taxpayers to get community input and determine what their out-of-pocket expenses were already and what should be done with the money once it is collected. Dr. Robin Felty, assistant superintendent for secondary education and administrative liaison to the committee, presented a pamphlet outlining survey results and plan ideas thus far.

"Prices are always increasing. We don’t want to short change anyone in quality of equipment," said Troy Price, Warwick High School principal. "We started many months ago and explored many options for fees."

In the system being considered, the fee would be $50 per extra-curricular activity for each student in grades nine through 12, $25 for grades seven and eight (and certain activities for grade nine), with a $200 cap per family. All money would go into a general fund, and then from there it would be dispersed into different areas (sports, music, clubs, etc.)

Of those completing the survey, 61 percent said that the school district cost to run the program should be the most important criterion for creating an extra-curricular activity fee. The committee is in the process of determining what would constitute a fee and what would not. Price noted that each advisor would be given an application to fill out to determine which activities will be included.

Discussion points for future committee meetings will include when to institute the proposed system and how much notice to give parents. Sixty-nine percent of those taking the survey agreed that six to nine months would be adequate.

"We feel there is no rush. We would like to get this rolled out correctly," said Rucci.

The committee will be bringing the information back to the board next month and will be continuing to give updates every two months.

In other discussion, July 14 was the first night for free physicals offered to school district athletes at the Heart of Lancaster Regional Medical Center, Lititz. The next date will be July 28, from 5 to 7 p.m. Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association is allowing one free physical each year for students. For more details, contact the district office or athletic department.

Also, the committee approved a Sunday use request for Warwick Midget Football on the turf stadium for Sept. 15. More ‘PAY TO PLAY’, page A14

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