School district eliminates 'pay to play' athletics policy - WNEM TV 5

School district eliminates 'pay to play' athletics policy

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Saginaw High Athletic Director Dan Szatkowski isn't holding back when it comes his reaction to the district’s decision to no longer require students to pay to participate in sports.

"Wow! Blessing! Hip hip hooray! Thank you! Unbelievable!" Szatkowski said.

More commonly known as pay to play, on Wednesday night, the Saginaw school board voted to eliminate the $75 fee charged each school year.

"Opens up opportunities for more and more enrollment, for more and more involvement with athletics, our teams now can grow," Szatkowski said.

Sierra Cortez plays volleyball for Saginaw High School. She said she knows a lot of classmates who have stayed on the sidelines.

"A lot of students that want to come in and play for their first time but they can't because their parents can't afford that money," Cortez said.

Now that pay to participate is on the bench, how does the district plan to pay for that loss of revenue?

"Well we'll have to look at figuring out where we're going to get $15,000," said school board president, Ruth Ann Knapp.

Knapp was the lone vote to keep pay to play in place. She said there needs to be a game plan to replace those lost dollars.

"We got out of a four million dollar deficit. It's not a huge chunk but if we don't watch the nickels and dimes, the quarters and dollars we have problems with," Knapp said.

Szatkowski is ready to see more students taking part in athletics, he said he believes the window of opportunity for all students is much wider.

"Let’s get the kids involved with the sports. Let’s get things going back to when I first walked into this school 22 years ago," Szatkowski said.

The change takes effect immediately, and anyone who already paid to play this year should expect a refund.

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