School district may increase athletic fees at middle school

One year ago, South Whidbey High School raised its athletic participation fees.

Now it’s the middle school’s turn.

Langley Middle School athletic director Jack Terhar will ask the South Whidbey School Board to double the fees paid by students to play sports at tonight’s board meeting, effective at the start of the 2009 season in the fall.

The current participation fee is $15 per sport with a $60 family limit per year.

Terhar is asking that the fee be raised to $30 per sport with a $120 limit, plus increasing the associated student body fee from $7 to $10 for seventh- and-eighth-graders.

All money from participation fees goes into the ASB athletic account that helps fund teams.

Terhar said there hasn’t been an increase in the past 15 years.

“In 2005, the ASB revenue was decreased due to the removal of the pop machines,” Terhar explained. “Revenue has gone down from $750 to $150 since students began drinking juice and water from the machines.”

He added that costs for equipment, uniforms and the hiring of officials at games and matches have all gone up.

Fees at similar-sized middle schools range from $25 per sport at Coupeville to $105 at Lake Washington Middle School; the average is $57 per sport.

Terhar said that no students will be denied participation because they can’t afford the fees.

“Fees can be waived, and there are scholarship funds we can turn to if necessary,” he said.

South Whidbey High School athletic director John Patton said there are no plans to raise fees at the high school, mainly because they did so last year, from $30 to $50 per student.

“We’re changing the way we do business, and the Cascade Conference is as well,” Patton explained. “For example, there’s no reason girls soccer and volleyball teams can’t ride the same bus. If we do a better job of scheduling, that keeps costs down.”

He added that South Whidbey will use vans instead of buses when feasible and will schedule double-headers much more often.

Area middle schools charge a wide range of fees to students who play

extracurricular sports.

A survey of five similar-sized middle schools showed Coupeville charging $25, Monroe $40, King’s $50, Cedarcrest $65 and Lake Washington $105.

If approved by the South Whidbey School Board, Langley Middle School’s fee will double, from $15 to $30 per sport, next fall.

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