Want to Play? You Must Pay

The Switzerland of Ohio Board of Education on Tuesday established the fees that student-athletes will have to pay to participate in sports in the coming school year.

For high school students to participate, they will have to pay $200 per sport; junior high school students will have to pay $100 per sport.

All pay-to-participate fees will have to be paid two weeks before the first official game. The $200 will go back into the general fund, which will pay high school coaches’ salaries. Junior high coaches will not be paid.

The student-athletes will have to pay this price for every sport. No sports will be cut.

There also will be no transportation for athletic events. Tickets prices will go up $1 for every sport, while seniors, age 62 and above, will pay student prices. The money made at the gate will still go into the athletic fund for that school, not into the general fund.

These changes will take effect for the 2013-14 school year. The school board will put another levy on the November ballot. If it passes, according to board President Ron Winkler, the pay-to-participate policy will be rescinded.

“I would love to come back here in November and get rid” of these changes, said board member Janelle Comstock. “I guess the hardest part for most people is you do not know what it does take to have to sit down and make these cuts and do this to our kids. We want to see things get better. It all hinges on that levy.”

According to Treasurer Lance Erlwein, the November levy will determine the fate of the sports programs in the district. Even with the pay-to-participate policy, he said the sports programs will barely support themselves. If the levy fails again, more cuts will have to be made. At that point, pay-to-participate fees would likely rise to $600-$700.

“This is not covering all the coaches’ supplementals; it’s not covering the field, park, utilities. There are a lot of expenses that (the pay-to-participate) doesn’t touch,” said Erlwein. “There were so many different opinions from all the different sources – everyone had a different opinion on what we should do. There are so many moving parts to a district athletic program that it is hard come up with a true cost.”

Both Erlwein and board member Justin Isaly were upset because four meetings have been held concerning the district’s sport programs, yet there has been no mention at any of those sessions of the 40 teachers who will lose their jobs.

“Nobody knows the true actual number of what it costs to run everything. There are so many moving parts to the equation, you cannot come to a fixed number,” said Isaly.