Regional News

The next time you dish out $400 for a new bat or $200 for athletic shoes; don't forget to reach a little deeper for another $100 to pay for your son/daughter to play Virginia High School League (VHSL) sports in Montgomery County next year.

The Montgomery County School Board voted early Wednesday morning to start charging $100 per child to participate in a VHSL sport or event, per season, with a $300 cap. This new charge will take effect starting with the 2012-13 school year.

The "pay-as-your-play" charge came about because of the school budget shortfall this year.

According to Wendell Jones, school board chairman," It was either pay to play or cut ALL middle school athletics"

Montgomery County is not the first school to enact this fee, as there are currently more than a dozen school systems across the Commonwealth that charge athletes to play.

"The following school divisions either have a pay to participate plan in place this year or have adopted such a plan for next year (not all of these are necessarily for all VHSL activities; some are just for sports): Albemarle, Augusta, Culpeper, Fluvanna, Hampton, Isle of Wight, Loudoun, New Kent, Orange, Spotsylvania, West Point, Williamsburg/James City and York," said Mike McCall, Information and Communications Specialist for the VHSL.

"Poquoson used to have the policy, but they dropped it a few years ago. Fairfax also had such a policy recently, but I think they also did away with it," added McCall.

According to Loudoun County school officials, they require that each student pay a non-refundable athletic fee of $100 for each sport in which he or she is a confirmed member.

In Loudoun County, the fee is waived for students that qualify for the free or reduced lunch program. 

As to rather or not the fee will be waived here is still up in the air. However, according to Jones, "If the family needs financial support the schools and/or various boosters need to step up."

Jones further added "Pay to play will be the standard in all divisions before long ... no way school divisions can continue to fully fund all the sports, equipment, officials, maintenance ... We're still getting beat up over not have a "Lacrosse" team in the larger high schools."


#3 rebecca brown 2012-05-28 14:13
I think this is outragious my grandson plays football and baseball and band. Maybe his parents could affort to pay for this but they buy enough to keep him in his activitys. But montogomer count has raised our taxes now they want this. Enough is enough what will our young people do with their time if for not the activitys they have now foe free
+4 #2 Desiree Bradley 2012-05-18 01:36
I taught at EastMont for 3 years and coached volleyball/ tennis. I had to move to Michigan last year due to my husband's internship position. I was so upset when I left my EastMont family! I loved my students and the staff I worked with! It was very difficult! Recently I was looking through local news on-line and stumbled across an article about pay to play in Montgomery County. I was so upset!!! Our students of rural VA are going without food, live in poverty, and sometimes have to shower at school because their parents didn't pay the bill for the month....and we're going to now make them pay to play a sport!! Sports for some of our students is the only hope in their hopeless world after school! If they don't have the financial means to pay for food then how can they pay to play!!!! I understand Boosters are suppose to help but can they help 1/2 of our student athletes? I'm just very concerned about this issue and want to be a voice for my previous students/kids!! !! Thank you for your time.....Coach B.
-3 #1 kind observer 2012-05-17 10:17
The ..."$400 bat;...$200 shoes"..that's the bad part about 'wearing colors'. It's almost as bad as some gangs, in that kids' demands for 'colors': elitist status via coloration and branding have exceeded many parents' wallets. I hope that the trend of 'preppy wear/colors' will subside, but I doubt it; not until harder economic times that we all don't want to see.

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