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Published: Tuesday, 3/22/2005

Woodmore schools OK pay-to-play plan, make soccer varsity sport

WOODVILLE - The Woodmore Local Board of Education approved a $20 play-to-participate fee and approved soccer as a varsity sport last night.

The fee, capped at $60 a year per student and $120 a year per family, is expected to generate about $18,000 for the district each year.

Exempted from the fee are National Honor Society, all student councils, the high school leadership board, the elementary safety patrol, the FFA, the family consumer science organization, the French club, and the Spanish club.

The district currently expects to have a budget deficit in 2007, and is looking for cuts in every area, board member Marsha Schettine said.

Both the play-to-participate fee and varsity soccer were approved with a 4-1 vote. Board member Dean Sandwisch voted no to both, saying that varsity soccer would eat up about half the revenue from the pay-to-participate fee.

"Our charge is to either increase revenue or decrease expenses," he said.

He suggested that the board increase the fee to $50 and reduce it for students with a certain grade point average.

Board member Michael DeStazio said the district would find a way to help students who cannot afford the $20 fee.

"We will take care of the people with financial need," Mr. DeStazio said.

Board member Donna Beam said the district had been discussing the fees for two years.

About half the school districts in the state have pay-to-play fees, Mr. DeStazio said. In the Toledo area, that includes Genoa, Lake, Swanton, Bedford, and Monroe.

Members of the nearby Eastwood Local Board of Education may soon be considering whether to pass a one-time fee for high school athletic participation.

At last night's school board meeting, board member Bob Kuhlman said the athletic council committee recently discussed suggesting a $30 yearly fee for any student who wishes to participate in high school athletics.

About 40 students participated in soccer as a club sport at Woodmore this year, high school Principal Hobart Johnson said. He expects more students to participate next year.

About $5,000 of the $8,500 start-up cost of the soccer team will be offset by a donation given to the district for the sport a few years ago that also paid for it as a club sport. That made the time right for soccer, Mr. DeStazio said.

"I think soccer's here, and as a school, it's time to support it," Mr. DeStazio said.

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