tampabay.com

Students will pay less to play

The School Board cuts back some costs for playing sports and eliminates tryout fees.

By JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK
Published July 11, 2007


LAND O'LAKES - The cost of playing sports in Pasco County schools just went down.

And trying out won't cost kids a dime anymore.

With enough money in the bank to cover athletic insurance, the School Board on Tuesday decided to eliminate the district's tryout fees - $20 at middle schools and $25 at high schools.

It also cut the cost of participating in a second high school sport, scaled back the total amount a family at the same school would pay in athletic fees, and set a maximum fee for individual athletes $100 in high schools, $75 in middle schools.

"It's something we can afford to do," superintendent Heather Fiorentino said.

Other student fees, for programs such as parking, band and lockers, remained unchanged.

Board vice chairwoman Kathryn Starkey cheered the change to the sports fees, which went up just a year ago. She especially thought the idea of paying to try to join a team was unnecessary.

She put her money behind her vote, too.

"I'm going to donate my (next paycheck to) ... River Ridge middle and high schools to help them pay their athletic fees," Starkey said.

Fiorentino noted that students who cannot afford the fees can get financial aid from the district.

In other business, the board:

Times staff writer Carrie Ritchie contributed to this report. Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at solochek@sptimes.com, (813) 909-4614 or toll-free 1-800-333-7505 ext. 4614. For more education news, visit The Gradebook at blogs.tampabay.com/schools.