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Abolish high school pay-to-play fees

August 19, 2018

An open letter to the New Milford Board of Education:

In a recent newspaper article, a budget error was noted and you had the chance to reduce the high school parking fees for students and the fees for pay-to-play sports. You opted to reduced both fees. I need to ask a burning question: Why wasn’t the option of eliminating the concept of pay-to-play sports considered?

I remember when the pay-to-play sports was instituted around 2002. It was a horrible idea back then, and is a horrible idea now. New Milford should take the lead and eliminate the pay-to-play. All four of my children were heavily involved in sports. I could afford to pay for my children, but I was upset about the families who couldn’t. Even though a scholarship program was set up for families that couldn’t afford to pay, the monies ran out quickly, and there were children who were left out of the sports programs.

Although my children are long graduated and out of the school system, I am shocked that this pay-to-play is still in existence. Sports are an integral part of helping children develop skills to navigate life, such as healthy exercise, teamwork, commitment, respect, following directions, etc.

For students who have use of a car, their families can afford to pay parking fees. There is transportation already available for students to attend school, so having a car is a luxury. Conversely, providing children with the chance to develop their physical education should not be considered in the same category.

I implore you to reconsider and abolish the pay-to-play fees and instead raise the parking fees. Sports, as well as the arts and academics, contribute to making a student whole and ready for the world of work. A cheaper parking spot does not contribute to making a person whole.

Rachel Spillane

New Milford

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