By Oliver Lazenby
Blaine student athletes and their parents got a break on athletic fees this year.
For high school students, a full year of sports will cost $80 this school year, down from $140 last year. Middle school athletic fees are $35, down from $70 last year.
At the high school, the fee is now $40 for the first sport a student participates in, $25 for the second and $15 for the third. The middle school has a single $35 participation fee.
So far, the middle school has more students participating in sports than in previous years, said assistant principal Cabe Vander Yacht.
“This is a record year for sports participation,” he said. “I can not place this on just the fee reduction but I am sure this helped some families.”
At the high school, sports participation numbers this fall are almost identical to last year, said Wayne Vezzeti, assistant principal and athletics director.
The district also has a reduced sport fee and need-based scholarships, so it’s possible that the fee wasn’t a barrier for aspiring student athletes.
“We do the best we can to communicate that if money is an issue we’ll help out, Vezzetti said. “We never really wanted to start athletic fees in the first place but we had to when we had budget cuts eight years or so ago.”
Sports fees were reduced after the district passed a four-year maintenance and operations levy in February 2016. The district also reduced student fees for A.P. testing, science labs and summer school tuition.