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Woodridge Pay-to-Participate Fees Show Mild to Moderate Impact on Fall Sports

The fees were added to high school and middle school sports programs and clubs to raise revenue for the cash-strapped Woodridge Local Schools district.

Woodridge Local Schools Athletic Director Don Ross recently crunched the numbers to determine the initial impact of the newly implemented pay-to-participate program.

In some sports, participation decreases were mild to moderate; and in other cases, participation increased slightly.

His findings were presented to the Woodridge Board of Education at its regular meeting on Tuesday by principals Joel Morgan and Jesse Hosford of Woodridge High School and Woodridge Middle School, respectively.

Here’s what they discussed, by the numbers:

Woodridge High School fall sports

Cross Country (Boys and Girls – Varsity/JV)

  • 2010 – 60 members; 2011 – 55 members; 2012 – 48 members

Girls’ Tennis (Varsity/JV)

  • 2011 – 19 members; 2012 – 14 members

Girls’ Volleyball (Varsity/JV)

  • 2010 – 26 tried out; 2011 – 27 tried out; 2012 - 29 tried out

Girls’ Soccer (Varsity)

  • No discernable impact

Boys’ Soccer (Varsity/JV)

  • Zero athletes quit due to pay to participate

Football (Varsity/JV)

  • 2010 – 71 members; 2011 – 66 members; 2012 – 52 members (Lost one starter and eight to 10 freshmen due to pay to participate.)

Boys’ Golf (Varsity/JV)

  • 2010 – 16 members; 2011 – 15 members; 2012 – 17 members

On the seventh and eighth grade level at the middle school, participation in the four fall sports – boys’/girls’ cross country, football and volleyball – were tabulated collectively.

They found 103 total athletes participated in 2009, 103 in 2010, 106 in 2011 and 105 in 2012.

Fees on the high school and middle school level are as follows:

  • High school athletics -- $125
  • High school music activities -- $75
  • High school & middle school clubs -- $25
  • Middle school athletics -- $75

Regarding fees, Morgan conferred with another local athletic director  who spoke to several schools across Northeast Ohio that implemented pay to participate and “…what he was able to determine were those schools that went to about $250 or more per sport, per student – that was sort of the tipping point,” said Morgan. “That was when they really started to drop off in terms of students participating in athletics.”

The board appeared satisfied with the findings, but Superintendent Walter Davis asked Ross to conduct studies again on winter and spring sports to track how participation numbers are trending.

School officials decided to implement pay to participate during the 2012-13 school after back-to-back levy failures prompted them to find alternative ways to boost revenue. 

Shortly after pay to participate was approved, the district experienced its third levy failure in August.

A new five-year, 6.83-mill levy is on the November ballot. If approved, the levy will generate $15 million and raise taxes among homeowners by $209 for every $100,000 in property valuation.

Gerry Butcher September 21, 2012 at 10:26 PM
As an active participating parent in Woodridge Rec sports, I think pay to play is fine. Some of the fees are much lower than what we are paying now and quite lower still than other surrounding school districts.

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