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Pennsylvania schools see threefold jump in sports fees

By 69 News & Associated Press, (follow: @69news), news@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 20 2013 02:47:38 PM CST
Generic baseball, football, basketball image
HARRISBURG, Pa. -

A new survey has found Pennsylvania public school districts are nearly three times more likely than three years ago to charge students to participate in sports.

The Pennsylvania School Boards Association said Wednesday its survey found that 38 percent charge sports participation fees, up from 13 percent in 2010.

"Many districts are considering this option over program cuts to offset funding decreases and budgeting deficits," said Todd Hosterman, senior research associate with PSBA and author of the study. "However, 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."

The survey found the average fee now stands at $80, while 11 percent of districts have cut sports, most commonly basketball, soccer or golf.

Schools have been under increasing financial pressure in recent years. Many districts increased real estate taxes, cut staff and programs, or both.

The survey also found that about one in five districts currently charges fees for other activities, such as band or chorus.