KINGMAN - In order to increase the number of student-athletes who help fundraise in each sports program at Kingman Academy High School, the administration there has instituted a "Pay to Participate" program beginning this school year.
"The costs haven't changed, but we need to get more kids involved," said Jeff Martin, KAHS principal and athletic director. "We're trying to get the load off the coaches."
The Kingman Academy of Learning District covers the costs for salaries, the Arizona Interscholastic Association fees, game officials and the Betty Rowe Gymnasium. Each individual athletic program at the Academy has to meet the costs for uniforms, equipment and transportation. Moving teams around the state is the biggest expense that has to be met and can be as much as $10,000 for a team.
In prior years, the only program that had a fee associated with it was the football team. That cost to parents has gone from $200 to $250, and now, each member of the spirit line is required to pay $100, and all other sports are $300.
According to the school's form that must be signed by the student and parents or guardians, the individual teams will be doing fundraisers to help offset the "Pay to Participate" fee. Fundraising has already begun at the school with the sale of community cards, a new contract with Coca-Cola, and Butter Braid sales start up Monday.
Also, an Arizona tax credit may be used for the amount given, up to $400 per couple. While this doesn't increase a refund from the state, it can be used to decrease an amount owed and is good for five years.
"There's good and bad (about it), but it's a necessary evil," Bill McCord said of the fees. He's the KAHS baseball coach and math teacher. "We've always been self-supporting, but that is known. If we want to have sports, it has to be done."
McCord sees the biggest issue that needed to be overcome was the lack of participation in the fundraising by student-athletes on their respective teams.
"I've done it 12 years with Krush and five here at the high school," the baseball coach said. "It's always the same five or six kids. This makes everyone have to get involved."
Martin said the toughest part has been the fall sports and the parents who are getting hit with the fee right away. Jenise Herbine, whose son Will plays football and basketball, has chosen to see this as an opportunity to teach a life lesson.
"I think it's a good plan because it will teach the kids responsibility," she said. "If they get the option to fundraise, they'll have a chance to learn the value of money."
The "Pay to Participate" structure continues to be a work in progress. Martin said there are ongoing discussions to set a maximum of $600 for multi-sport athletes, approximately the cost for two sports.
"We'll probably cap it there for the school year, but we haven't concluded that," he said. "I wish we didn't have this problem, but we do. I see a lot more schools going toward this in the future."