Our recent Town budget includes a potential Pay to Play option going into effect for future school years despite overwhelming comments at the last meeting to not have this happen. I believe the Pay to Play fees will pertain to athletics and potentially, clubs/activities at SHS and/or SMS.
My concern is that we are pricing some students out of participating in said activities. If you are familiar with Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, you know kids/teens that are able to pay for the elite teams (travel, premiere, private training) already have a distinct advantage over those that cannot afford it. In turn, their skill set will allow them more success and advantages. Think college scholarships. We are now going to have that theory apply to public school sports, activities, etc.
I’m confident the response will be that funds will be available for families to apply to, there will be a sliding scale, etc. I am also confident that some families won’t apply and their child will no longer participate. Parents should not have to “out” their financial situation in order for the child to grow and succeed in an area that interests them beyond academics.
I urge the town to reconsider this decision. Pay to Play will widen the gap and create a marked distinction in both students’ abilities and parents’ finances if this policy comes to fruition. All students and parents deserve the opportunity to pursue whatever interests them without financial concern.