Mesa families now have a cap on the amount of money they have to pay for their children to participate in high school sports or other activities.
The Mesa Unified School District governing board voted Tuesday night to put a $400 family cap in place, beginning next school year, for the district’s pay to participate or “pay to play” fee. The board also voted to lower the current per student cap from $300 to $200.
The district adopted the fee — $100 per student, per sport or activity — this past school year.
But the district also allowed for full or partial waivers when a financial need could be demonstrated.
About two-in-three students paid the full amount this school year, Steve Hogen, director of athletics for the district, told the governing board earlier this spring. At that time — not all fees had been processed — 22 percent of the fees were processed with a partial waiver and 5 percent with a full waiver.
Governing board president Steven Peterson said there continued to be concern from the board about the impact of the “pay to play” fees on families.
“There was discussion about discontinuing it completely,” he said. “But we got some feedback from the community about concerns that we are still tight budget-wise to do that.”
With the changes in the cap, the program will continue at least one more year, “but we put in some relief for the families.”
Hogen said all school districts in the East Valley, except Chandler Unified School District, now have “pay to play” fees in place.
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