Starting next year school districts participating in athletic mergers with the Ogdensburg City School District will be charged a per student fee to help offset the costs associated with teams that include students from other districts.
When Canton implemented it they went with a gradual fee structure, Superintendent Timothy M. Vernsey said. We need some direction from the board about how you would like to go about getting the rates.
Board President Frederick P. Bean suggested voting on the proposal crafted by Athletic Director Anthony E. Tony Bjork and Mr. Vernsey.
Board of Education member Thomas P. Luckie Jr. was worried about the effects the proposal would have on the districts teams.
Did any of the schools say if we did charge they wouldnt participate? he asked,
Mr. Bjork said he spoke with the athletic directors from both Heuvelton and Morristown, whom the district has fall sports mergers with, noting that one of the schools, although he did not specify which one would no longer send their athletes to the school if they started charging the full price right away.
Board of Education member Ronald N. Johnson supported the gradual implementation fees.
Youre recommending to phase it in over five years and I think thats a good start, he said. Mr. Johnson is a retired athletic director from the district.
Board of Education member Lawrence G. Larry Mitchell was also worried about the potential impact the fees could have.
I would hate to see a kid who lives four miles from Ogdensburg who has played Pee Wee Football and Minor Hockey here get to seventh grade and not be able to play, he said.
Mr. Luckie also noted that while the costs calculated by Mr. Bjork and Mr. Vernsey may be a per student cost, it doesnt really cost the district any additional money to throw a uniform on them and stick them on the bus.
Mr. Vernsey explained the costs were calculated by taking the total cost of each sport that they currently have a merger agreement with and dividing it by the number of participants.
The proposal calls for a $300 per student fee for varsity sports, $200 per for junior varsity and $150 per for modified starting in the 2012-2013 academic year.
This fee represents 50 percent of the total cost per student at each level.
The following four years the fees will increase to 60 percent, 70 percent, 80 percent and 100 percent of the total costs in the 2016-2017 year.
Board of Education member Michael J. Tooley was the lone no vote on the measure.
I wont support it with the transition, because in my mind we are in a fiscal crisis and everything we do needs to reflect that, he said.
Board of Education member Betty J. Mallott was not present at the meeting.