Talawanda’s New Pay-to-Play Policy

Talawanda’s New Pay-to-Play Policy

Pay First, Play Second

By Julie Page

OXFORD, OH — At the school board meeting on Dec. 15, the board voted yes on new budget restrictions after being proposed by Ed Theroux, Talawanda’s superintendent. After the proposed levy failed in Nov. 2022, the board found these restrictions necessary to save money. 

The school board proposed a goal of $75,000 to save by the end of this year. At the meeting, three different options were presented to reach said goal. Option two (A2) passed with a vote of 3-2 and is said to generate $81,079, surpassing the $75,00 goal. 

This option reintroduces the pay-to-play fee to Talawanda for the first time since 2018. Pay-to-play is a cost paid by a student’s family to fund their own participation in a school sport and in some cases, band. The cost of the pay-to-play fee back before its suspension was $150 per THS student and an additional $75 for a second activity. This fee was capped at $500 per year for families with more than one participating child. 

For the spring 2023 semester, the new pay-to-play fee will be $170 per sport for each high school student and $85 for middle school students. The same fee is also in place for students that participate in the school’s band. Money brought in from play-to-play is estimated to generate $22,015 for the district. 

Questions have been asked surrounding the future of Talawanda’s sports with the new pay-to-play fee. There is concern that the extra financial anticipation will prevent students from entering sports as stated by board member, Rebecca Howard. 

In terms of student opinion, one track and cross country runner, Bryson Fears (sophomore), said, “I do not plan on stopping playing either sport due to pay-to-play,” but he “know[s] many people who are thinking about not playing due to pay-to-play.” 

Alongside the fiscal concerns, some worry that the quality and size of teams may be in jeopardy with the introduction of pay-to-play. “This will cause team sizes to shrink which could be very hard on the programs that already have small team sizes. I think pay-to-play is going to cause a large decline in team and athlete performance due to having less options for the coaches to choose from,” Fears said.

The school board will next meet on Feb. 23, 2023.