The Pennsylvania School Boards Association recently released its updated survey of so-called “Pay to Play” fees being charged by PA school districts. These fees are assessed against students by districts in order to offset some of the cost of providing extracurricular activities – usually athletics, although sometimes including other activities like band.
Not surprisingly, given the difficult state of public education funding in Pennsylvania, the survey revealed that the number of districts charging such fees has tripled in the last few years, so that now nearly 4 in ten schools charge such a fee. The average fee also has increased as well.
Given the squeeze most districts have experienced with the limitations on the ability to raise local revenue, along with the reductions in state funding increases, many districts have to seek other means for providing and funding programs like athletics and other extracurriculars, or else face the prospect of cutting such programs. The fear of course is that fees like this can limit participation for students whose families may not be able to afford these growing fees.
It is but one more example of the difficult financial decisions facing PA public school districts today.