A new survey has found Pennsylvania public school districts are nearly three times more likely than three years ago to charge students to participate in sports.
"Many districts are considering this option over program cuts to offset funding decreases and budgeting deficits," said Todd Hosterman, senior research associate with PSBA and author of the study. "However, the rising cost to athletes and their families is concerning. Looking at the maximum reported $200 per student, per activity, fee would require a three-sport athlete to pay $600 a year."
The survey found the average fee now stands at $80, while 11 percent of districts have cut sports, most commonly basketball, soccer or golf.
Schools have been under increasing financial pressure in recent years. Many districts increased real estate taxes, cut staff and programs, or both.
The survey also found that about one in five districts currently charges fees for other activities, such as band or chorus.