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Pay to Play?

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP — A school district in Columbia County may become the next district in our area that requires students to pay to participate in extracurricular activities.

This could raise thousands of dollars for the Southern Columbia Area School District.

Athletics is a way of life at the school district near Catawissa, but next fall families may be shelling out cash for kids to participate in athletics or any extracurricular activity the school feels is necessary.

“I would still play but it would be kind of awkward to pay money for a high school team,” said John Stanishefski, a high school senior.

School officials said the policy may be voted on as early as next week. The reasoning behind it is so the school can make more money. The school board president told Newswatch 16 that the districts deficit for next year is already at $1 million. Paying to participate would help them make $20,000 a year.

“The parents are being punished enough with the taxes they pay in this district. They don’t need this on top of everything else,” said Judy Althouse of Catawissa.

Many people are against the proposed policy, but we also found one dad who said he’s okay with it.

“I grew up and didn’t play sports, and I was always in trouble. I wouldn’t want them to follow my roots,” said Steven Persinger of catawissa.

Board members we spoke with said if passed, the next step would be to determine how much kids will pay. Officials said it would only be a one time fee and those who cannot afford it or who qualify for reduced lunches wouldn’t be required to pay the fee.

“I know that a lot of schools are facing budget cuts so I guess they kind of have to do what they have to do,” said Mckenna Lupold, a high school senior.

The Southern Columbia Area School Board will hear another reading of this policy on Monday evening. If approved, they’re hoping to put the policy in place starting in the fall.

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