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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.

One Proposal
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.

D Cardillo March 14, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Having a 28 Million dollar budget and trying to save money on the backs of the Hockey players pretty sad if you ask me.
Sara Jacobi March 14, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Should hockey players be charged an uneven amount for their sport because the sport's costs are much higher? If not, what's another solution?
Suzanne Melanson March 15, 2012 at 01:22 AM
No they should not since there are many costs that parents have no choice but to pay/provide their son/daughter with proper equipment. One parent had a good point. The football players are provided with their equipment hockey players buy their own. Skates, pads, pants, gloves, helmets and sticks can run $600-700 (even more for a goalie)not to mention the frequent sharpenings, and their own transportation gas $ to practices in Medford and Charlestown. To be able to play highschool hockey parents have had to invest lots of money over several years for players to develop the skills for the game mainly skating. You just have to "dress up" a player not even one with much athleticism if they have the size. You can start football as a freshman having never played before. Not the case in hockey!
Kimberly Bova McDonald March 15, 2012 at 01:15 PM
I think a viable alternative would be to have the Hockey Teams or more appropriately the Parent Committees associated with the HS fundraise to help offset the costs. Hockey is already a financially taxing sport as players are constantly outgrowing/wearing out skates and equipment. I understand the football team does not have to pay for ice time which is quite expensive and that is why they receive equipment and the hockey team does not. However if the hockey team must provide their own and pay an additional fee it will become unfairly cost prohibitive for families to afford and additional fee on top of the athletic fee already in place.
John Roberto March 15, 2012 at 11:07 PM
The Warrior Club (football boosters) subsidizes the program by having to raise $20,000 a year to pay for coaching stipends, major equipment, Landrigan Field upgrades and the list goes on! If it wasnt for the Warrior Club, each kid would be looking at an additional $300+ in user fees if they wanted to see the same level of service. So please leave football out of this discussion. Its not comparing apples to apples because what you think your school department pays for....in actuality it raised by private funds.
Sara Jacobi March 16, 2012 at 01:19 AM
John, excellent point. Do you think that if $20k a year wasn't contributed by the Warrior Club, costs for football and hockey would be about even? What other sports at WHS have parent organizations that help to raise funds?
John Roberto March 16, 2012 at 03:27 AM
I cant speak for other sports. All I can say is I think people would be very surprised to see what the school department pays for versus what booster clubs pay for. Without a booster club, football players would be looking, at the very least, an additional $200 in user fees. So they would be right inline with hockey. Unfortunately due to high ice rentals and low gate receipts, hockey is always in the red...by alot. Football would be in the red as well if it wasnt for the Warrior Club. I think people should be happy that Wakefield has an AD, Superintendent and Business Manager that value athletics as part of the educational experience. Most cities and towns wouldnt even talk about the added fee. They would just cut the sport entirely.
D Cardillo March 16, 2012 at 12:02 PM
Wahefield Hockey also has a booster club that pays for a significant amount of Ice as well as coach's stipends.

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