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