Elgin schools' officials are recommending starting cooperative lacrosse teams for high school girls and boys starting in the spring.
If approved by the Elgin Area School District U-46 school board, lacrosse would become an Illinois High School Association-sanctioned sport.
Last spring, some U-46 coaches pushed for creating district-funded lacrosse programs.
The district has boys' lacrosse club teams at South Elgin and Bartlett high schools that are self-funded, costing roughly $30,000 per program. Students pay more than $500 in fees per season to play. Teams rent fields from local park districts for practice.
The independent boards running those clubs sought the district to take over the programs and provide partial funding and expand them to include girls.
This spring, U-46 could have a girls' lacrosse cooperative with students from Bartlett, Elgin, Larkin, South Elgin and Streamwood high schools, and two boys' lacrosse co-ops at Bartlett High School for students from Bartlett and Streamwood high schools, and at South Elgin High School for Elgin, Larkin and South Elgin students.
"What we decided to do is have an east side, west side co-op and do a gradual release of funding," said Terri Lozier, assistant superintendent of secondary instruction and equity. "It will come under the jurisdiction of U-46."
The district would charge a $200 athletic fee per student. Teams would probably have to charge an additional $300 to $400 per student to cover the cost of uniforms and equipment, Lozier said.
That could include the cost of purchasing helmets, sticks, goggles and mouth guards.
"We have a plan to make lacrosse a fully funded by U-46 IHSA sport within the next two years," Lozier said. "Again we are waiting to see what type of (state) funding actually comes through to see how else we can support lacrosse."
Lozier said she has amended the high schools' budgets to pay for athletic trainers, which originally was considered cost prohibitive but officials were able to work that out.
Teams could do their own fundraising to support other costs, which players have been doing already.
"It's about $1,000 per student to play," Lozier said.
The IHSA conducts its first lacrosse boys and girls state championship series in the spring -- at least 65 boys' teams and 40 girls' teams must participate in the series. School boards must OK lacrosse as a varsity sport for their schools to participate in the state series.