Mundelein High School to cut cost of student athletic fees in hope of encouraging more participation
Trying to encourage more students to take up sports, Mundelein High School officials will reduce athletic fees for the 2015-16 school year.
Students now pay $200 per sport, per season, to participate in extracurricular athletics. Fees are capped at $300 per year for any family.
Starting in the fall, students will be asked to pay $75 to join a sports program. Additionally, the family cap will drop to $225.
Athletic Director Perry Wilhelm said he's happy the fees will shrink.
"Anything that we can do that might remove a potential barrier for participation is plus," Wilhelm said Thursday. "That is our goal, to get as many students to participate as we can."
About 1,300 students participate in athletic programs at Mundelein High. Nearly 2,100 students are enrolled at the school.
The new fees were unveiled this week.
In an interview with the Daily Herald, board President Karen Havlik extolled the virtue of student athletics.
"Kids that participate in athletics do better in school," she said. "They have more social contacts and they're learning to participate in team building."
Officials began looking at reducing athletic fees after meeting with a predominantly Hispanic community group, Havlik said. As a result, they wanted to increase minority participation in sports and make sure fees weren't keeping poorer students from joining teams, she said.
"I don't think fees and the cost should keep kids from participating (in sports)," Havlik said. "If that lets more students participate, that's great."
Wilhelm said he's heard anecdotally about teens who have stayed away from athletics because participating would create a hardship for the family.
The potential financial impact of the fee changes on Mundelein High School District 120 wasn't immediately known.
If student participation stays the same, revenue will decrease. But increased participation could offset that drop, officials said.
"We don't know for sure how this change will impact the amount of money the district collects, as we cannot predict how participation will change due to the lower cost," business manager Andy Searle said. "However, we feel it is worth the risk to try to increase participation."
Athletic and extracurricular fees vary from school to school. At Lake Zurich High School, the fee is $220 for any sport except football. That fee is $250. The family cap at Lake Zurich High is $1,000.
Conversely, Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire doesn't charge students anything to participate in sports. The only exception is hockey, which carries a $240 fee to cover equipment and ice rink rental.
Mundelein High's athletic fees haven't changed since 2001. That year, they were increased to help combat substantial financial problems that have since been resolved.