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Editorial: ‘Pay-to-play’ affects athlete participation

Published 10:43pm Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cassopolis Public Schools is one of many area districts making some tough cost-cutting measures this year. But one decision made this week is not a cut, but a fee.

The district will be one of the few in the region to implement $100 “pay-to-play” fees for athletes participating in one or more sports. Although the alternative is to eliminate low-participation sports, we believe this will prevent some students from participating in sports at all.

The majority of the district’s students qualify for free or reduced lunch. This means there are many low-income families in the district. For some, the $100 fee — in addition to shoes, equipment and other costs associated with sports — may be more than they can afford.

Cutting sports with low participation is a better option for this district. If funding is restored in the future, the eliminated sports could be reinstated.

The district could make this fee easier on students with fundraising efforts.

Booster clubs, parents and students could rally to raise money so all students have the opportunity to play.

Sports can be one of the most memorable and impactful experiences in a student’s high school career — let’s not take that away from them.

This editorial represents the views of the editorial board.

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