School board approves flat fee for athletics | TahoeDailyTribune.com

School board approves flat fee for athletics

Jeremy Evans

The Lake Tahoe Unified School District school board on Tuesday approved a flat-fee for student-athletes that will begin in the 2005-06 school year, a move supported by a near unanimous vote and one that helps the athletic department offset its overall costs.

The fee was set at $55 per sport for middle school athletes and $115 per sport for high school athletes. The athletic department’s “Fair Share Program,” which was influenced by investigating five other California school districts forced to implement a similar program, should raise about $82,000. That number is roughly 30 percent of the department’s overall budget for both schools and essentially equates to covering its transportation costs.

“I’m happy with it,” said Jack Stafford, the high school’s associate principal and athletic administrator. “From a bookkeeping standpoint, this is much simpler. I just want the kids to participate. I got support from our booster club, STAT and other organizations that are out there. No kid is going to be excluded.”

Stafford and LTUSD Chief Financial Officer Michael Curran also provided the board with a second option – a sliding fee for student athletes participating in sports that cost more money. For example, the total cost of the tennis program was just under $2,300 during the 2004-05 school year, while the Alpine skiing program was responsible for more than $16,500 of the department’s overall operating budget ($237,421).

According to the proposed “Fair Share Donation” presented at the March 22 board meeting, a tennis player would’ve paid $90 for their sport with a sliding fee and an Alpine skier $500. The board, however, requested further information at that meeting before it would act, such as individual transportation costs per sport and the possibility of a flat fee to generate the necessary money.

The information requested resulted in a decision on Tuesday.

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“I feel like if you don’t give them options, it’s not fair,” Stafford said. “They asked us in the last board meeting to come up with certain things and we did. This is a good board. They are not afraid to make a decision. They acted quick and I like that.

“From a philosophical standpoint, we got people losing their jobs and programs that are in danger of going away. I don’t think that without a Fair Share or a donation athletics should go unscathed while other people are losing jobs.”

One other athletic item was discussed at the meeting but remained unresolved. Stafford recommended combining the freshman and junior varsity teams in the sports of football and basketball. In football, it could be enacted as early as this fall. In basketball, the earliest that it would happen is the 2006-07 school year.

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