Harford County parents and students protest 'pay to perform' fee

Athletics fee doubled, drama now costs $100
Posted at 9:56 PM, Oct 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-11 06:33:48-04

If your kids play sports or want to perform in the spring production - it'll cost you. 

Harford County Public Schools approved an extracurricular participation fee to include drama performers in June. 

RELATED: Harford County school board upholds theater fee, community pushes back

The theater fee was included in the school system's 2017 budget which passed June 13, 2016. 

As outlined on their website, high school students are required to pay the following fees to participate in interscholastic athletics and drama productions:

  • $100 per season to participate in any high school junior varsity (JV) or varsity sport
  • $100 for a student's performance in as many productions as his or her school stages during an academic year

The fees are capped at $200 for an individual student. 

Last year's fee was $50 for athletes and there was no fee for drama. This school year,  student athletes and performers are required to pay $100. 

"We're a one income family and so this fee is causing a hardship for our family and it's causing a hardship for many other families too," parent, Renee Duzan said.

Nearly 50 residents, students and parents spoke to the school board pleading to revoke the 'pay to play' fee altogether.
"I believe that every student should have the opportunity to follow their passions and to do the things that they love and if this pay to play continues, to be an issue, i don't think students will be able to find that," Rachel Koncurit, a drama student, said.
For some parents it also brings up concerns over inclusion.
"We believe that it's just not equitable to have that barrier up for some kids and not allow everyone to participate," June Ernest said.
Harford County Public Schools spokesperson, Jillian Lader said the revenue generated from the fees will be about $50,000. That money will go toward the general fund to cover various school system costs. At this point, the board has no plan to revoke the fee.
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