Schools Eye Raising Fees for WHS Hockey Players
As part of their budget discussions, members of the Wakefield School Committee and the School Department discussed raising the fees students would have to pay to play ice hockey to help cover the enormous cost of renting ice time for practices and games.
There's an elephant in the room when it comes to paying for Wakefield High School sports.
And it's wearing ice skates.
The costs associated with running the Wakefield High School hockey program are astronomically higher than other sports and clubs due to the need to rent ice rink time. One season can cost up to $40,000 for just ice time rental alone, according to the School Department.
Wakefield High School boasts an incredibly successful boys and girls hockey program, with both teams often making the state tournament, and in the case of the boys' team, two finals appearances in the last two seasons.
Still, constraints on the school's budget have the School Department and the Wakefield School Committee possibly eyeing uneven sports fees for the 70 or so students involved in the boys and girls hockey programs.
The most recently proposed idea would assess an extra $250 fee for students who choose to participate in hockey on top of the $260 all athletes pay to participate, bringing the total amount students must pay to play a season of hockey to $510.
School Committee members noted that $250 per student would raise $17,500, not even half the amount needed to rent ice time, and that's assuming 70 students participate every year.
"I'm wondering what the formula was to calculate that number," said School Committee member Kevin Piskaldo. "[Athletic Director] Mike Boyages has been against having different fees for different sports."
Michael Connolly, business administrator for the Wakefield School Department, said the administration was aiming to recoup at least $15,000 to help offset the costs of ice time.
"We didn’t want to increase that amount too much, to put the burden fully on the hockey students, he said. "We are trying to find a happy medium between what they’re paying now, $260, and looking at the bigger picture. It's unreasonable to expect to offset the full cost of [ice time], but we didn’t feel it was completely out of line to ask for help with some of it."
As it stands now, no votes have been taken and no decisions have been made. The School Committee will be discussing the issue further at future meetings.