School sports fees debate rages on

POULSBO — Spirited conversation amongst members of the community took place on May 10 as sports fees took to the field during the North Kitsap School District Board meeting.

The NKSD Athletics and Activities Committee unveiled its recommendations for participating fees for the 2007-08 school year, showing that eliminating all activity bus runs at middle schools next year would save enough to lower fees parents shell out for sports.

The preliminary plan shows a savings of $70,000 and also calls for using that money to fund a reduction in middle school participation fee to $20 (currently $35 at Poulsbo and Kingston junior highs) and the high school fee from $60 to $35.

The AAC report stated that on one activity bus run, there are only an average of 12 students riding daily, less than 50 percent of whom participate in athletics.

“It’s a lot of money for not a lot of use,” NKSD Athletic Director Trish Olson said of the activity buses.

Community member Lael Stock said it is imperative to keep participation fees for athletics and activities as low as possible.

“Most parents aren’t objecting to the fees, we just want to make sure that they’re reasonable,” Stock said. “Students participating in sports is good for everyone involved. We need to make sure we keep on improving our sports programs. We need to keep the fee as low as possible so as many children as possible can participate.”

“Not that many athletes ride the activity buses” she added.

Not everyone agrees with the AAC’s assessment of a low level of ridership on activity buses.

Bus driver June Rhoades said her buses have a steady number of students using it on a daily basis.

“My bus is usually packed with kids,” she said. “I barely get back to the bus garage by the time I am supposed to. My bus is loaded with kids involved in activities and athletics. Parents want their kids involved with sports and I am all for it.”

School board member Dan Delaney expressed concern for eliminating the activity bus runs.

“If we get rid of the activity bus runs, then there will be kids who probably won’t be able to participate,” he said. “That makes me sad.”

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