Pay To Play Fees Considered By Pitt County School Leaders

By: April Davis
By: April Davis

As school officials across the state are facing some major cuts, they are looking at ways to make money and try to save programs.

In Pitt County, some school officials have proposed charging student athletes a fee every year to play sport - something they have never done before.

Pitt County School officials are proposing a $20 a year per student athlete fee.

Life is a slam dunk for Brandon Smith when he's on the basketball court. Basketball is his passion. Until now, Smith and his South Central teammates have played high school basketball for free, but the sport he loves may soon come with a price.

"These ideas are flowing from a lot of places. School boards are in a tough time, all costs are going up. Transportation, everything is rising and people are looking for ways to make more money," said Ron Butler with Pitt County Schools Athletics.

The $20 per athlete fee would go toward transportation costs and supplemental insurance. It's a fee students aren't used to paying, and many say they don't want to.

"It's hard nowadays going through a recession and all that stuff so I don't think it's a good idea," said rising senior Brandon Smith.

"I don't see why athletes should have to pay to play," said basketball coach Chris Cherry.

Cherry says he's worried the fee might deter students from playing sports.

"Athletics is some of these kids avenue for staying in school. It keeps them busy throughout the afternoon and keeps them off the streets and out of some unfortunate situations," said Cherry.

Cherry says it's a place where they learn hard work and those values transfer over to the classroom.

Some parents in Pitt county say they understand times are tough and they would be willing to pay up.

"I think $20 is pretty reasonable for something like that," said parent Rosy Donnenwirth.

There would not be an extra charge if a student played more than one sport. The additional fee has not yet been determined.

The Pitt County Board of Education's finance committee will hold a public meeting June 23rd to discuss the idea.

According to school officials, if the fee goes into place there would be some waivers for situations such as students on free or reduced lunch possibly not paying the fee.

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  • by Anonymous on Jun 21, 2011 at 02:15 PM
    You know why they don't pay, because most people stand behind the teams. You care more about these kids winning than their education. People are writing up here now complaining, but how many of you go to every game cheering and yelling like a bunch of idiots.
  • by Anon Location: Winterville on Jun 20, 2011 at 05:07 AM
    I agree with the fee. People FIND money to pay for what they consider important. They have to get physicals to play, the school offers them for $20...a spotrs fee would be different than a school/book fee. Sports are extracurricular, the cost is extracurricular too. Parents wouldn't mind at all. If coaches really knew of a hard case, they could make an exception just like we do in other situations where it is required. Frankly, I'd rather pay an even larger fee than sell stuff to make money for the programs.
  • by Jean Location: Greenville on Jun 18, 2011 at 09:17 AM
    Everyone should have to pay the fee (absolutely no waivers). They should also do away with the free lunch and breakfast programs in our schools. It is not too much to ask people to come up with 50 cents or even a dollar to pay for their food. Either all students should get free lunch or no one should get it. Also, I am not sure where the funding comes for the summer breakfast and lunch programs but Pitt County taxpayers should not have to bear any of the cost. People if you cannot afford to feed your kids then don't have them.
  • by Bruce the Shark Location: Greenville on Jun 17, 2011 at 05:25 PM
    Ask any teacher this one because we see it all the time. I child does not have the money for a pencil or paper but tell them it costs $125.00 to go to Bush Gardens and they will have cash the next day, no problem. Kid makes the basketball team, $125.00 for new Jordan's. Child gets Free/Reduced lunch, he also has a pocket of cash to buy snacks and ice cream. They should charge $80.00 a sport and if the parents really wanted their child to play, they would have the money. I have witnessed this for over 12 years teaching middle school in Pitt county.
  • by Scott on Jun 17, 2011 at 12:54 PM
    Do it! Why should kids who don't play or don't make the team have to pay for the team. Sports have no place in school anyway. Kids are there to learn, not play ball. Do that on your own time at your own expense. How much does each year to keep up the Gym, football fields, softball fields, and baseball fields? How much money would it save if you didn't have to pay coaches who basically watch your kids play sports? Cut where it needs to be cut, not on the teachers who actually teach the kids something.
  • by No on Jun 17, 2011 at 11:19 AM
    Should tap the local businesses and organizations for funds... As a conservative, local people should support local schools... If we want to get rid of government in the school system.. then we should stand up and be ready to help when the Gov can't.
  • by Anonymous on Jun 17, 2011 at 10:55 AM
    That's just two dime bags they have to give up to play! Now that's a deal!
  • by Concerned Location: Windsor on Jun 17, 2011 at 10:55 AM
    We should not complain my step daughter in Florida says they have to pay a fee of 100.00 plus pay for their uniforms.
  • by Really? on Jun 17, 2011 at 10:21 AM
    WOW I can't believe that athletes don't already have to pay an athletic fee. Based on the upkeep of equipment/fields, travel expenses/officials and multiple uniforms I can hardly believe athletes are not expected to a small portion. As many posters have stated, everyone can get out and do a few chores like mowing/washing cars to earn a few bucks over the summer. Everyone should pay to play. Please tell me how many of these athletes do not have a cell phone? If a family can afford a cell phone for the athlete they can afford to pay an athletic fee. Most people appreciate the things they invest in.
  • by Me Location: ENC on Jun 17, 2011 at 10:18 AM
    lose teachers or pay 20 bucks to play a sport?

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