Some PA Schools to Charge Charters For Sports Participation

Officials across various districts are considering proposals that would see charter organizations charged a fee for students involved in district sports and activities.

The Easton Area School Board is exploring its right to charge charter and cyber schools a fee for their students to join district athletics and other activities in a bold move that would be a firm line drawn in the sand between public and charter schools in the state, write Samantha Marcus at The Morning Call.

School Director Bob Arnts, chairman of the board's athletics committee, said:

"They want to play for the Rovers but they don't want to go to school here."

The move would see charter schools be required by law to reimburse the district a flat or sliding fee depending on which extracurriculars their students enroll in. These fees could range any from $200 to $600, depending on costs.

Aldo Cavalli, chief operating officer of the Lehigh Valley Academy, said that the students from that charter haven't been charged for participation, but would be prepared to listen to a "reasonable discussion" on the proposals.

He said:

"I understand the public schools are feeling a little beleaguered. We understand the times are changing and there's additional oversight being asked of the district. … We would be open to take a look at this as a charter school, but we wouldn't want to be burdened too heavily by the changes."

However, some are less keen to discuss the idea. Charter schools who try to encourage extracurricular activities would struggle with the proposed fees. Some homeschooling programs, for example, which already have problems with encouraging extracurricular activities, would also fall under the bracket of having to pay to play.

Diance LaBelle, executive director of the Lehigh Valley Charter School for the Performing Arts in Bethlehem, said:

"I think it would be unfortunate if any school district decided to do that.

"Having students be exposed to as many opportunities as they can be exposed to is important."

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