N.J. School District Says Students Must Pay To Play

Middle Schoolers Asked To Fork Over Nearly $400

BRICK, N.J. (CBS 2) — A New Jersey school district that canceled all sports this fall because of budget cuts is giving parents the option to bring them back for a fee in the spring.

Walter Hrycenko, the superintendent at the two middle schools in Brick, told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan the district had to cut $11 million from the budget because of massive reductions in state aid.

One eighth grader told Sloan he was not at all happy about basketball being cut out of the semester.

“I got pretty mad. Because last year I tried out and I made cuts,” he said.

Now, parents are being given the chance to pay a fee to bring back the extracurricular activities. Students would be required to pay $346 for track and field and $376 for softball and baseball.

Angela Christiansen said she isn’t sure if her daughter will play softball in the spring.

“It’s kind of up in the air, up for discussion in the home. It’s kind of a big payment and she already plays travel softball for a Brick team so it’s a lot of money to reach out of your pocket,” Christiansen said.

The school district is certainly not alone in resorting to fees for activities, the trend is occurring across the state.

“I knew it was coming. I hate spending the money. I don’t know what else to say, don’t have much of a choice,” parent Chuck Van Note said.

Parents will have until Feb. 22 to sign up for the sports programs and if the district doesn’t get enough students, it will not bring them back for spring.

Superintendent Hrycenko said “it’s unfair, but I don’t know what else we can do. We feel sports are very valuable, but we have to make choices.”

“I don’t think there’s going to be enough people willing to pay that much money. I mean we’re paying a lot of money in taxes as it is,” parent Donna Daly said.

Brick’s two high schools don’t charge a fee for sports, but school officials said that could change in the next budget.  The district has already laid off 90 employees, including 54 teachers.

SOUND-OFF: Would you pay over $300 for your child to play school sports?  Give us your thoughts…

More from Christine Sloan
  • Dan

    According to Supreme Court Precedents such Hartzell v. Connell. Also, New Jersey state Law (Senate Bill #S2228) was signed into law sept. 2010 which makes it illegal for a school board to charge a fee for students activity. The New Jersey Educational Clause states that the State is “required to provide a thorough, efficient and “FREE” public education.

    • Karen Anderson Larkin

      This bill was introduced in September of 2010. This is still pending as of this date as far as I can see.

  • Ddburns

    The budget overruns in public schools are happening all across the country for any number of reasons. Too many, overpaid administrators, teachers unions that demand/protect underperforming highly paid teachers remain, with guaranteed retirement benefits. And yes, there are legitimate, and necessary resources whose costs have gone up. If things have reached a tipping point and one is unaware that deficits are unsustainable, ask yourself, “when was the last time I went to a schoolboard budget meeting and voiced my concerns and opinion”. It’s our tax money, we should hold people accountable. This is no accident, it happened on our/your watch. If part of the solution is pay for play,until we get our house in order, so be it. We all have tightened our belts in this economy. Football goes before books, buses and science lab. Kids need an education, they don’t need football. Tough times, tough choices, adults pay for their mistakes and learn from them .

    • Eye Doc in NJ

      “Football goes before books, buses and science lab. Kids need an education, they don’t need football. Tough times, tough choices, adults pay for their mistakes and learn from them .”

      well said.

  • Myrtle Beach Bobby

    Parents always want everything for their kids as long as SOMEBODY ELSE pays for it. If you think sports are important, get rid of the kids cell phones and video games. Stop eating out. Sacrifice. Ain’t nuthin free!

  • jbh16

    What this doesn’t mention is that there were fall and winter sports that ran for pay to play of approx $50/per student! Track and Field, Boys and Girls Soccer, Field Hockey, Wrestling, Cheerleading. Why in the same school year are the fees drastically changing?! And as far as the coaches, these coaching salaries haven’t changed over the years – so you can’t blame those who do coach. They put in a lot of time during their seasons for training/practices.

  • ang

    Way to go anti-gov geniuses. This is what happens when you think cutting is the only answer. These things are optional and, yes, people want them. Even people who don’t participate. Except maybe the tea=partiers who don’t want to pay for anything.

    • Doug

      What Hrycenko doesn’t bother to mention is that they received 4.9% raises and hired another administrator during this same time. Each BOE meeting, they cry out “its all about the children” and then turn around and do nothing for them, but they do plenty for themselves. They should all be arrested for stealing.

  • True Zion

    The american way: PIMP everything, even the kids.

  • chris s

    It seems that you have not been given ALL the information. The parents are being asked to pay, but you do not have the overall breakdown of the use of the money collected as I do, a Brick Resident.
    the total fees collected for baseball will be $7,442.00 of this $5,457.00 will be to pay COACHES stipends!!!!! As a devoted father I have been coaching my son through the years of baseball seasons and travel leagues. I would never expect to be paid. I AM A VOLUNTEER AND SO ARE ALL THE OTHER COACHES AND MANAGERS IN our town baseball leagues. The Superintendent made no mention of how the funds would be used.
    Most of these kids have been playing ball all their life, with most playing in travel leagues or tournaments, and I doubt any coach will teach them some skill that they don’t already have. I do not see any reason why the coaches should be paid. Get volunteer coaches and have the parents pay for the remainder of the fees, and hold tryouts. When I went to school only the best players made the team, that is why it is such an honor to play for your school, not because Mommy and Daddy could afford to get you on the team
    Fire the superintendent for even submitting this program or maybe he wants to be the coach to put some cash in his pocket.

    • argyle

      hey chris – thanks for filling us in on the rest of the story. it is a shame that the sports program has been put in this situation.

  • jerseyjoey

    80 % of your overpriced property taxes are for the schools, bottom line here is fire all the overpriced teachers , staff and most of all the board and overpriced school aministration making six figures. This is sick to be told this, who do you school admins think you are, off with thier jobs back with the sports.

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