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Pay-to-Participate Policy May Be Cancelled for Next Year

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On their January 22nd meeting, the Harford County Board of Education voted to end the pay-to-participate fee as part of the proposed budget for the 2014-15 school year.

As a solution to raise money and cut expenses for the county, a fee of $25 per-activity and $50 per-sport was implemented for the 2013-14 year.

Students, however, were exempt from this fee if they were enrolled in the Free and Reduced Meals (FARMs) program. To qualify for FARMs, a student’s family must have an annual income below $43,568 with a family of four.

Compared to last year, the number of students who enrolled in FARMs increased by 675 students. This change may or may not be a direct result of the pay-to-participate policy. Many students after all, were searching for ways to pay for their sports and activities. This correlation may have been one of the reasons the board voted to end the controversial policy.

However, to satisfy their newly proposed budget, the board needs an additional $31 million from the county, on top of the $423.1 million they asked for last year. They will hear back from the county council sometime in April, and then will be able to submit a final budget for approval.

The fate of the pay-to-play policy relies on how much extra the county will be granted for next year’s budget, and whether or not the budget can be revised to exclude the policy.

“If the county council doesn’t give us the money that we asked for, pay-to-participate is probably going to go right back into the budget” for next year, according to Hannah Jones, vice president of HCRASC who attended the recent board meeting.

The final decision on the pay-to-participate policy will most likely be made by June of this year.

“Potentially, if we are in an even larger deficit…students are going to have more to worry about than just pay-to-participate,” says Jones.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Pay-to-Participate Policy May Be Cancelled for Next Year”

  1. Genae H. on March 28th, 2014 7:10 pm

    I hope that we don’t have to pay the fee next year…. that would be great 🙂

    [Reply]

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Pay-to-Participate Policy May Be Cancelled for Next Year