HOWARD — The implementation of pay-to-play fees for spring sports at East Knox was one topic raised during the public participation portion of Wednesday’s school board meeting.
Community member Hub Reed said he did not think it was fair that spring sports athletes have to pay the $250 fee this school year when fall and winter athletes did not.
“I’m not opposed to pay-to-play in principle,” he said, “but I think the timing and amount for spring sports is unfair. I understand the need, but it’s tough times financially for all of us. There has not been enough time for the kids and their families to raise the money.”
The board of education passed a motion in December to create a pay-to-play system beginning with spring sports.
Reed also pointed out the differences in the lengths of the various sports seasons, and suggested spring sports athletes should perhaps be charged less than those playing sports with longer seasons.
Board President Renee McDaniel said instituting pay-to-play this spring was a very difficult decision.
“We believe in the value of sports programs,” she said, “but we are in a terrible financial situation.”
Athletic Director Derick Busenburg said the district is conducting a raffle to help athletes offset the cost of pay-to-play fees.
Treasurer Jessi Busenburg said cost containment measures are somewhat helping the district’s financial situation. She said expenditures in February were the lowest in the last four years, however, she added, that will not offset the deficit spending.
Busenburg reported that bills from the Knox County Educational Service Center have risen 18 percent in the past two months. The district receives special education, preschool and educational consulting services from the ESC. Caputo said he and special education coordinator Corby Frere have been looking at programs from preschool through 12th grade to determine where the district could be more efficient in providing special education services to the students.