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Field 'pay to play' cut irresponsible

Published: December 3, 2013 4:00 AM

There they go again. The Field Board of Education lowered the "pay to play" fees for Field High School athletics at its November meeting.

I take issue with how this lame duck board went about decreasing the fees. This was not on the agenda; it was brought up by one of the exiting board members. She mentioned they had asked the prior administration about the financial impact of decreasing fees, but never received an answer. She asked how they would go about decreasing the fees. The superintendent said he could make a recommendation, which he then proceeded to do. The board voted on the recommendation and it was unanimous.

At no time during the discussion of this topic did any board member ask the treasurer what was the financial impact of their decision. The board had no idea what the financial impact was of their vote. I even went up after the meeting and confirmed with the treasurer that he was not consulted.

As a CPA, I take issue with this board's fiscal irresponsibility. How can a "bare bones" district like Field after failing their sixth levy attempt reduce revenue at the very next board meeting?

The good news is we have a new board starting in January. The bad news is this board has one more meeting and who knows what they have planned for that meeting.

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I have been a vocal opponent of past levies and switched to a proponent of this last levy effort. With this kind of fiscal irresponsibility it makes me think maybe the Field district should not be trusted with more taxpayer money.

The challenge of the new board will be to convince voters that they, unlike the old board, can be fiscally responsible. I hope they rise up to that challenge.

Thomas Serle, Brimfield

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tom530 Dec 5, 2013 9:23 PM


The superintendent did not know the financial impact.  I talked to him several days after this move.  The treasurer only had an estimate.  Ok so your niece directly benefits, but what about bussing, specials, advance placement classes, leaking roofs and other maintenance?  People vote against levies for many reasons, certainly a big one is that voters cannot trust this board to be fiscally responsible and bonehead moves like these just reinforce that.


i happen to think pay to play fees are wrong in principal, but to make any financial decision without knowing the impact is simply irresponsible.


whether another board member chooses to send her kids to field or somewhere else, has nothing to do with this decision.  Also falcon academy does not cost flsd a million dollars.  It is very complicated to figure, but by my best figuring falcon academy costs flsd less than $100k a year and could actually provide money to flsd.

How did pay to play fees leap frog in priority over bussing, specials, ap and maintenance?  This irresponsible move will make it harder to get future levies passed.

vegas Dec 4, 2013 4:26 PM

The superintendent and treasurer work hand in hand on a daily basis and the superintendent knows the financial status of the schools which tellls me he knew the reduction in fees was doable.  More than 200 kids have left the system and probably  more like 300 since pay to play was initated.  That loss amounts to about a million four in lost revenue.  How many families can afford those fees and still vote for a levy?  Once kids leave do you think the parents will vote for the levy?  Couple that with 130 kids attending Falcon Academy which yearly sucks over a million a yr from Field schools.

More kids will now be able to play and so more fees will be collected helping to cover costs.  The cost of the athletic program is primarily the cost of coaches which stays the same whether they have 20 players or 50.The previous administrators did nothing to ease the burden on families - they never gave the same answers twice when the board would ask.  Thank heaven for the new administrators who are competent, transparent and decisive.  My thanks to the board for doing what should have been done a long time ago but I understand their reluctance under the previous circumstances.      

vegas Dec 3, 2013 10:00 PM

My niece has two sons who attends Field High School.  She is a single parent.  She paid over $900. for her sons to play fall sports.  And can she also afford an increase in her property taxes when she must pay large amount for her sons to play sports too???

I am pleased this school board passed the reduction in the fees for her sons to be able to play.

I think the tax payers should look at the board member who took her children out of Field Schools and are sending them to Kent Roosevelt. The loss to the Field Schools in the tune of about $18,000.  She didn't want to pay the fees nor have her property taxes raised neither.  And this board member is still on the board?? AMAZING!

Everyone should step back and really look at why school levies are not being passed and why so many students are leaving Field schools and  taking the tax money to other districts.

tom530 Dec 3, 2013 11:45 AM

Jfk you are missing the point. They cut the fees without bothering to find out the financial impact. You don't run a $22 million dollar entity by making financial decisions without knowing the financial impact. Well at least not responsibly. The fact that they are a lame duck board makes it even worse.

writesomething Dec 3, 2013 5:17 AM

Maybe the pay to play fees are causing the district to lose enrollment. Not good for any Treasurer when they have to give that money to the other school district. Didn't this Board merge those duties with Waterloo?