School district receives $3,000 to help student athletes

ARLINGTON — Students who cannot afford to participate in school sports now have a way to do so.

On Sept. 14, the Arlington School Board approved a $3,000 donation from a local business to help low-income students pay the mandatory participation fee that the high school and middle schools charge for playing sports.

The donation from Todd Busby, owner of Arlington-based Process Solutions, will help offset the $75 per sport fee at Arlington High School and $40 per sport fee at Haller and Post middle schools, high school athletic director Tom Roys said.

The money will go into an account that can be accessed by all three schools.

"We never want to deny a kid a chance to participate in a high school event because they can't afford that $75," Roys said. "It goes a long way in making sure everybody gets a chance."

Because of the sheer number of student athletes at Arlington High School, $2,000 be available for high school sports, while the middle schools will split the remaining $1,000.

The donation would help individual students pay those fees, not reduce all students' fees.

Alan Boatman, athletic director and assistant principal at Haller Middle School, said that the donation will help a number of families who may not have considered seeking assistance before.

"People have fallen on harder time," Boatman said. "We've seen a real increase in need."

The district initially implemented a $40 per sport participation fee at the high school before the 2006-07 school year. Last year that fee was raised to $75.

The middle schools followed the high school, raising their fees from $25 to $40 before last school year to account for the increasing costs of athletics.

In addition to approving the donation at the Sept. 14 meeting, School Board members also got a staffing update from Superintendent Kristine McDuffy.

McDuffy told the board that compared to last year, the district has 38 fewer certified, classified and administrative staff members this school year.

That number includes staff that were laid off, resigned, retired or had a leave of absence, McDuffy said.

"One of the most difficult parts of our $3.8 million reduction is layoffs," she said.

Twenty-three of those 38 were teachers, or certified staff.

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