Dist. 111 board waives athletic fees for next year
Pay-to-play option may be revisited if school funds decline
MINOOKA — Parents of Minooka High School athletes and club members will get a pass next year now that the district’s finance committee has decided not to charge participation fees — at least for one more year.
Committee and board member Jim Butterbach said the Finance Committee agreed not to institute a pay-to-play fee for the 2012-13 school year.
“We came to the conclusion unanimously,” Butterbach told the Minooka Community High School District 111 Board of Education.
Board member Debra Warning was visibly disappointed.
“I am not happy to provide 80 or 90 clubs and sports without some contribution on the part of the parents,” she said.
The committee took many factors into consideration, Butterbach said, including research that shows a loss of participation in athletics and activities when fees are instituted. And research that indicates students do better educationally when they are involved and invested in school activities.
“Down the road, (fees) are going to affect their grade scores on tests and general scores of students,” Butterbach said.
All three feeder schools, Minooka, Channahon and Troy grade schools, charge between $30 and $40 for sports participation. Troy also charges $10 for activities or clubs; both Troy and Channahon charge an additional fee of $40 or $50 for band participation, according to District 111 Business Manager Todd Drafall.
Superintendent Jim Colyott added that one of the considerations by the committee was that district fund balances are in good shape. Should they begin dwindling, which is likely, the issue could be revisited in the future.
Board member Mark French said he agreed with Warning that fees made sense, but he had some concerns.
“My concern is that some students would not be able to participate because of the fees,” French said.
Should the board institute fees in the future, there could be a cost cap and possible waivers for students unable to pay, according to Board President Chris Kobe.
Retired Minooka resident Curt Jebbins, who has spoken out at board meetings for 15 years against the high cost of education to taxpayers, brought up the same issue during public comments.
“If parents want their kids to participate, let them pay,” Jebbins said following the meeting. “Give me a break, I paid my share.”
The issue will be reconsidered next year, Kobe said.
“That’s (the consensus) for the next year, and we can revisit it,” she said.