Pay-to-play moves beyond sports

MEDINA, Ohio — Pay-to-play is becoming popular not just in school sports, but in K-12 academic programs, according to The Wall Street Journal. Public school districts around the country are making up budget overspending by charging students to enroll in certain classes or to cover the cost of textbooks or lab supplies, the report said.

One family on Medina, Ohio, paid a total of nearly $4,500 for its three children to participate in sports and band and to take Spanish and earth science classes, The Journal reported.

Some high schools also are charging registration, technology and “instructional” fees, according to The Journal, extending the fee structure far beyond the more traditional practice of charging for field trips or driver’s education.

Public officials say that the fees allow them to continue offering extracurricular activities and specialty classes that only benefit a certain proportion of students, The Journal reported.

The schools point to rising costs and reduced state funding as reasons for the fees, according to The Journal. While most state constitutions include provisions for free public education, many qualify it by saying students are entitled to “suitable” or “adequate” publicly funded services, The Journal reported.


The Wall Street Journal, “Public schools charge kids for basics, frills,” May 25, 2011


Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Big Coaching Salary Bumps at Schools Hiking ‘Pay-to-Play’ Fees,” June 16, 2011