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Pay-to-pay fees could be steep for athletes in 2011 – The Collinsville Press
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Pay-to-pay fees could be steep for athletes in 2011

AVON, May 4 – A proposal to fund athletic programs at Avon High next year would require parents to pay over $248,000 in pay-to-play fees and include fees to play individual sports that would range from $125 to $2,000 per season.

Tanya Adorno, the athletic coordinator at Avon High, made a presentation to the Board of Education in a special meeting Tuesday night about the cost of funding its 74 teams that compete in 36 sports in the 2010-11 school year beginning in September.

In its original budget, the Board of Education allotted $406,355 for athletics at the high school. But when the Board of Finance cut $1.05 million from the BOE’s original request in April, the athletic department had its budget reduced $150,000 to $256,363.

Adorno estimates that the athletic department will need $523,500 to fund all of its current programs next year. With an estimated $18,000 in gate receipts from football, hockey and basketball, parents would have to make up the remaining $248,655 in pay-to-play fees.

Adorno proposed a tiered system of fees depending on the overall cost of each individual sport and how many players were in the respective programs. Ice hockey, with an estimated 15 players and high costs to rent ice time for games and practice, has pay-to-play fee of $2,000.

Cross country and track and field athletes would pay $125 a season to participate. Other proposed fees included $200 for soccer, $300 for football, $335 for volleyball, $225 for field hockey, $400 for basketball and swimming, $350 for golf, $300 for wrestling, $325 for baseball and softball and $150 for tennis, cheerleading and lacrosse.

There would be no cap on how much a student or family could pay during the school year.

Athletes paid $150 to participate in sports this year at Avon at the varsity, junior varsity and developmental level and it was capped at $300 per student or $600 per family in a single year. In the 2008-09 season, athletes paid $125 to participate in sports.

Information from nearly 700 responses to a survey sent to parents of current high school and middle school students was used to help develop the proposal. Eighty-five percent of those surveyed favored a tiered pay-to-play system and 94 percent were willing to pay to maintain programs.

No action was taken by the Board of Education Tuesday night. Adorno and current interim superintendent Jody Goeler will take input from parents and report back to the Board of Education in two weeks on May 18 for the board’s next regular meeting with an adjusted proposal.

The town budget referendum is Wednesday, May 12. Voters will decide on the proposed $72.87 million budget that includes a 4.4 increase in the mill rate and is a 2.8 percent increase over this year’s current budget.

Adorno’s proposal did include several cost reduction measures including elimination of a shuttle bus to bring athletes from practice at Fisher Meadows or Buckingham back to the school. She also eliminated replacement of uniforms for the third straight year and reduced the number of games that developmental teams play. It also included a reduction in the fee to teachers to help supervise students at games from $98 to $50 a game.

There was a discussion about proposals to help fund the athletic budget including corporate sponsorship and signage. But board members were cautious on that topic, wanting to gather more information and indicating that Planning and Zoning Commission approval would probably be needed for any sign that could be seen from the road.

Parents that would like to comment about the proposal should e-mail Adorno or Goeler at the high school.

  • In 2008-09, pay-to-play contributed about $125,000 to the athletic department budget. This year, it contributed about $127,000.
  • As recently as four years ago in 2007-08, the Board of Education provided $624,860 for the athletic department. It was trimmed to $477,250 two years ago and to $404,684 in this current season.
  • As the funding has dropped, the number of students participating has risen. In 2007-08, there were 690 students participating in sports. This year, there were 820 students participating.
  • Athletes participating in crew, which is partially funded by the Board of Education, would pay a $50 fee, primarily its share for the athletic trainer and supplies.
  • The presentation did not address middle school sports, since the entire athletic program was eliminated this year. There is currently a field hockey and track and field program at the middle school that is funded entirely by parents.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.


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