Parents of Payson High and Rim Country Middle School student-athletes should be prepared to pay higher participation fees next school year.
The increases won’t be the exorbitant amount that rumors circulating in Payson have alleged.
For proof, PUSD Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Bobette Tomerlin did a financial breakdown of exactly what families must pay.
“The new fees at the high school will be $200 for the first sport, $50 for a second sport with a family cap of $400,” she said. “At the middle school the fees will be $75 for the first sport, $50 for a second sport with a cap of $150 per family.”
The good news for parents is that the fees qualify for the extracurricular tax credit of $200 for a single person and $400 for a family.
“As an example, if a (parent) had three kids at the high school who all participate in three sports, they would hit the family cap of $400 which is also the extracurricular fees tax credit limit.”
Last year, the fee at the high school was $60 per sport with a cap of $150 per student and family. The fee at the middle school was $20 per sport with no family cap.
The increases in fees at both schools were needed to cover the cost of coaching salaries and benefits that last spring were removed from the district’s maintenance and operation budget, which is from where the funds formerly came.
They were taken out of M&O because the district needed to reduce the budget by $1.2 million.
The salaries and benefits cost that was shifted from M&O to fee based was $146,709.
Financial challenges have not been limited to the Payson school district, as the country’s economic downturn has thrown some big blows at prep athletics.
In Flagstaff, Sinagua will close next year reducing the town to just two high schools.
Also freshman athletic programs have been eliminated. In all, the athletic budget was reduced by $405,000.
At Fort Thomas, some sports teams will not receive new uniforms as were scheduled and the teams will not travel to Phoenix as they have in past years. Instead, FT will play locally against Thatcher.
At Safford, athletic director Joe Burnside’s position was realigned to save money, but the school’s participation fee of $50 per sport will be raised by $10
Dysart Unified School District cut its athletic budget 20 percent and will raise the pay-to-play fees.
Tolleson has suspended swimming, golf, tennis and cross-country and the athletic director position has been eliminated.
Even the Arizona Interscholastic Association is attempting to do its share by reconfiguring the number of state tournaments to be held each season in an attempt to reduce travel costs.