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Hernando County middle school students may have to pay to play sports

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County parents might soon have to pay for their children to play middle school sports.

School district staffers are strongly recommending that the School Board keep the current system as it is: The district pays about $200,000 a year for about 1,700 participants, according to material posted on the district's Web site Wednesday.

But curriculum supervisor Dave Schoelles will also present two other options next week for the board to consider as it looks for ways to trim next year's budget.

One is to charge families to participate. If the district asks families to share the load, based on this year's figures, it would mean a $117 charge per student. Schoelles said the actual cost might vary, depending on the sport.

The other option: cut middle school athletics altogether.

Schoelles noted that the district already has shaved costs from the middle school sports program by switching to an in-county league, reducing the number of games for most sports, eliminating security expenses at each game and doing away with activity buses.

"Middle school principals and athletic directors strongly encourage the School Board to continue funding middle school athletic programs at the current level," Schoelles writes. "If cuts must be made, however, the best option … would allow middle school sports to continue on a pay-to-play basis."

The workshop is slated for 2 p.m. Tuesday at the district's Brooksville headquarters, 919 N Broad St.

Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or tmarrero@sptimes.com.

Hernando County middle school students may have to pay to play sports 02/24/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 8:36pm]

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