Brick Announces Middle School Sports Fees; BOE to Vote On 'Pay to Play' Wednesday
Fees will be assessed on a per-student basis
Parents will have to pony up by Feb. 22 in order for their middle school students to participate in spring sports.
Superintendent Walter Hrycenko issued a statement Tuesday saying fees up to $376 per student will be assessed for middle school athletes who want to play baseball, softball and track and field this season. The Board of Education will hold a public meeting Wednesday, where members are expected to vote to enact the fee-based sports program.
“This fee includes stipends for coaches and chaperones, fees for officials, supplies, bus transportation and track tournament fees,” Hrycenko said in the statement.
Middle school sports programs were eliminated from the school district’s budget for the 2010-11 school year, sparking outrage from some parents in the community who flooded Board of Education meetings until recently.
Under the so-called "pay to play" system, participation fees for baseball and softball will come to $376 while track and field fees will come to $346. Students who receive free or reduced lunch cannot, by law, be charged participation fees. Parents must pay by Feb. 22 in order for their children to be allowed to play, according to Hrycenko.
Despite its moniker, “pay to play” does not guarantee students will make a particular team. If more than a predetermined minimum number of students express interest in joining a team, tryouts will held and cuts will be made. Students who do not make the team will have their participation fees refunded, Hrycenko said. Fees also will be refunded if too few students express interest in joining a team. According to a document obtained from the district, 22 players will be required to field baseball and softball teams, while 30 participants must sign up in order to establish boys and girls track and field squads.
According to the same document, stipends account for the lion’s share of team expenses. Coaches for each sport on the middle school level are paid $5,457 for their efforts. Busing is the next highest expense, coming in at $625 for baseball and softball and $5,600 for track and field. Busing is more expensive for track and field because all events take place off school grounds, a notation on the document explains.
Efforts were made to reinstate sports programs after the 2010-11 school budget was defeated by voters in April 2010, but a compromise between the board and the township council—the body responsible for cutting a specified amount from a defeated school budget—could not be reached. Middle school students went without fall and winter sports as a result.
In December, board member Vicky Leone said she was developing a “pay to play” option to bring middle school sports programs back to the district. A call to Leone’s home phone Monday was not returned. Likewise, a message left with school district spokeswoman Dina Silvestri for Board President Kim Terebush went unreturned Monday.
The board's next meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Veterans Memorial Middle School, off Hendrickson Road.