Opinion

Cut in athletic fees a welcome step by Oak Harbor schools | In Our Opinion

It’s not often you hear that fees and costs are going down, but that’s exactly what’s happening in the Oak Harbor School District.

Starting next school year, a number of athletic fees will be dropping, many of them significantly.

The decreases, approved by the Oak Harbor School Board, reverse fee hikes that became necessary over the past few years because of the poor economy and budget cuts.

For student athletes, this is very good news. At Oak Harbor’s middle schools, fees are currently $75 for the first sport played, $50 for the second and $25 for the third. Those fees will be descreasing to $25 for the first, second and third sports.

At the high school, the $100 fee for the first sport will drop to $80, the second sport will drop from $75 to $55 and the third sport will go from $55 to no fee.

“This is just bringing our fees back down to the level they were prior to our fiscal challenges over the last few years,” said schools Superintendent Lance Gibbon.

Meanwhile, athletic participation is increasing among middle school students, according to Gibbon.

That’s a positive thing.

Sports encourage participation and teach teamwork, both important attributes graduates can carry into the work force.

School sports can also build self esteem and confidence, valuable life skills.

It is imperative for school age children to have access to sports and games, according to Theodore Hesburgh, author of “The Importance of School Sports and Education.”

Sports can motivate students, pushing them to earn better grades, especially in schools where maintaining a grade point average is a requirement of participation, according to Hesburgh.

Studies back up those claims.

In August 2007, “Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise” found that students who were active in sports like soccer, football and even skateboarding performed 10 percent better in core subjects such as math, science, social studies and language arts.

By reducing the athletic fees, hopefully more students will be turning out for a sport next school year.

We applaud the school district’s steps to make those sports more affordable and accessible.

 

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