More school districts are requiring students to pay to participate in sports, according to a survey released today by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and the Pennsylvania State Athletic Directors Association.
The survey found the percentage of Pennsylvania's 500 school districts reporting sports-participation fees grew from 13 percent in 2010 to 38 percent in 2013.
The size of the fees has gone up as well. In 2010, the average activity fee was between $5 and $50, growing to $65 in 2012 and $80 in 2013.
The response rate for the survey was 37 percent.
Of those responding to the survey, 11 percent said they had reduced sports programs because of a lack of money.
While some school districts choose fees to make up for funding problems, Todd Hosterman, senior research associate with PSBA and author of the study, said, “The rising cost to athletes and their families is concerning. Looking at the maximum reported $200 per student, per activity, fee would require a three-sport athlete to pay $600 a year.”
Sports are not the only activities with fees. Fees were charged in 22 percent of districts for activities such as band and chorus.
The PSBA did not take a position on the issue.
Eleanor Chute: email@example.com or 412-263-1955.