The Huber Heights school board will meet in a special session today to discuss re-implementing a payment plan for its 2013-14 participation fees.
School officials are expected to recommend a similar plan as last year’s that will allow students and families to pay the $428 participation fee in installments rather than requiring the full payment be paid before the start of the season, which is what board policy currently says.
Action will be taken by the school board today.
The current board policy was approved in April after Huber Heights officials determined the district did not receive all of the participation fees during the 2012-13 school year, Superintendent Sue Gunnell said last week.
Treasurer Ann Bernardo said there was a shortage of about $30,000 last school year when participation fees were less and three installments of the fees were permitted.
“This is a risk we’re potentially taking,” said Kelly Bledsoe, school board president. “The whole idea is not trying to deny opportunities for people, but make opportunities for people and make them as affordable as we can. That’s the bottom line of this.”
The school board voted last week to decrease the participation fee from $750 per student per sport to $428 — with a $1,200 family cap — due to ongoing fundraising efforts by the athletic department’s Champions Club. During the meeting, parents voiced their desire for a payment plan.
If the school board approves the recommendation, the first installment for fall sports would be due Aug. 15 — the deadline for when the full amount is currently due.
“We understand because the payments are higher than they were last year and it may take parents a little bit longer to pay those fees,” Bernardo said. “This will help them ease the burden.”
As part of Huber Heights’ $6.4 million in cuts approved in January, the participation fee for sports was scheduled to increase from $225 to $750 per student per sport with no family cap.
School officials have said the goal is to make athletics and extracurriculars self-sufficient. It costs approximately $771,500 annually to support them, and the reduced fee is projected to generate approximately $385,200, according to Bernardo. Gunnell said last week there is no money at this time expected to be used from the general fund to support athletics.
Committee members of the Champions Club said the goal is to raise $300,000 this year. The district also has a $50,000 commitment from the Huber Heights Athletic Foundation.
“It’s a blessing they’re considering (a payment plan),” said Jay Minton, the district’s athletic director and head football coach. “It shows compassion and understanding, because it’s tough to come up with that kind of money by a certain date.”
Huber Heights, which has an enrollment of about 6,300 students, had nearly 1,000 athletic roster spots in grades seven through 12 last year, Minton said.
“Our numbers will be down a little bit, but hopefully not much,” Minton said. “The numbers I worry about being down are our feeder programs, which is the future of your program. We want to make sure we keep those strong.”
What: Huber Heights special school board meeting
When: 1 p.m. today
Where: Studebaker Board Room, 5954 Longford Road