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Pay to Play will be a Reality

Original post made by Al Cohen on Mar 6, 2009

As a member of the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC), I was asked to Chair the Athletics sub committee. In the last few weeks I have been discussing the impact of the budget cuts with the Administration at both Foothill and Amador Valley as well as District personnel.

On the list for cuts are coaches stipends and athletic director partial stipend. Barring an economic miracle, these cuts will most definitely take place. Each of the school sites are presently looking into what the cost to the student-athletes will be as well as what creative ways they can help defray costs for needs based student-athletes.

The situation for PUSD student-athletes is far from unique. School districts up and down the state are trying to come to grips with how to pay for athletic programs. Some are even eliminating certain sports, and in some cases athletics entirely during these difficult times.

For planning purposes, my best guess, and it is my opinion only, is that student-athletes will be charged anywhere from $150-300 to participate per sport. In addition there will also be transportation costs that will also vary sport by sport. For multi-sport athletes, these costs will becom significant.

My purpose for bringing this to the public is to alert parents and student-athletes that the times have changed. Most of us with kids in club programs are used to paying for participation, in most cases much more than what the schools will ask. As a parent of two multi-sport athletes, I plan on asking my high school student-athletes to participate to help pay. It is a lesson in responsibility that will help them understand anything worth wanting is worth paying for.

Comments (8)

Posted by Amador parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2009 at 5:06 pm

Nice post Mr. Cohen.
Sports and the many other extracurricular activities offered at the schools have value, and they are wonderful enhancements to the regular academic curriculum.
But you are so correct about the reality of these times, and I applaud you for planning on having your own children help pay to participate in sports.
Ultimately, in order for our students to succeed when they leave PUSD - whether they choose to further their education or join the work force, they must have excellent reading, writing, and math skills and be familiar with current technology.
I'm not against sports or any other extracurricular activities. When funding is there, it's wonderful that PUSD makes these activities available to students. But when the funding isn't available from PUSD, then these extracurriculars either need to be cut, or financed by the participants.
We need to distinguish between needs and wants.....we need our students to receive the kind of education that helps them become self supporting adults. We need to keep on the reading specialists, the core curriculum teachers, the librarians. We need to provide safe, clean campuses where students can learn. But those other things, so appropriately named extracurriculars, are wants.
I wish every student could have an education that gives them what they need, and what they want. But in the economic situation we're sharing with families across the country, we have to give top priority to needs.
Thanks again Mr. Cohen for your thoughtful and calm post.


Posted by Pay to Play of the '80's, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 8, 2009 at 9:01 pm

I attended Foothill High School in the 1980's playing football and track. As I recall, my parents paid for me to play these sports. Just as today, the last 70's early 80's were a tough economic time. Does anyone recall what was paid back then and how that program worked. As I recall, my parents just paid it with no fuss. It was, however, much easier back then...


Posted by Patricia, a resident of another community
on Mar 9, 2009 at 8:07 am

I had 2 sons attending Amador High School in the 70's and early 80's and because of Proposition 13 many programs were either cut or the parents were asked to pay. We paid, did not complain it was the sign of the times. Please do not cave into all the negative media/news comments. We have gone through this before and with God's Grace we will survive. Think positive.


Posted by Thankful, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 9, 2009 at 9:56 am

Anyone attending Amador should be very thankful. As a result of a very active athletic booster club, Amador kids pay significantly less to play all sports as a result of fantastic fundraising efforts by tireless team rep. parent volunteers. Unfortunately is it likely to get at least a bit more epensive than in the past but nowhere near what others will be forced to pay to participate I'm sure.


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2009 at 11:23 am

Mr. Cohen is correct, IMHO, as are the rest of you. Pay-to-play is probably here, and here to stay. But we already pay, to the tune of $150 for a 'transportation fee' (it actually varies a little by the sport). So count on it being $300 and up to play. The Amador boosters model is clearly one to follow, they have shown what fantastic things can be done with hard work.

I played sports in the 80's, and it was $50 to play. It was illegal then, but Amador & Foothill did it anyway. Not sure what the rules and laws are on it now.


Posted by Amador parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2009 at 11:50 am

I too would like to commend the AVHS Boosters club for their incredible efforts to support school sports. Don't have a student who plays sports, but I still join Boosters and give them a check every year because they make it possible for athletes to play who cannot afford to pay athletic fees.
AVHS Boosters does a fabulous job and they are appreciated!


Posted by Bruce, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 9, 2009 at 11:59 am

How much money does the district raise from entrance fees? Does the football team raise enough to pay for the program? Basketball, soccer, etc? I think if the sport can pay for itself, it shouldn't be cut.


Posted by Thankful, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 10, 2009 at 10:00 am

District/School pays lights, facility maintanence, referee's, some safety equipment (for Football I believe). Team fundraising covers everything else, and teams are each responsible for their own fundraising efforts.

Not certain where the gate fees go, but definately not to the teams (likely used to offset said expenses above). Proceeds for Athletic pass sales go to PTA (not athletic boosters) at AV which seems odd to me. I'm not sure why athletic pass sales wouldn't go directly to supporting sports, but they don't.


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