The Poland Board of Education approved a pay-to-play program for athletics and band at Monday's meeting. Board President Larry Dinopoulos said it is a move that had to be made.
"We've been talking about it for a year," he said. "We're trying to cut costs."
He said the district has to balance its budget, which has been a tough road with the state cutting $1.2 million from state funding. The board tried to pass a new operating levy three times and voters rejected it. Dinopoulos said with no new revenue and the state cutting back, the only option to balance the district's budget is to continue to make cuts.
The pay-to-play will involve a fee of $200 for high school sports, $100 for middle school sports, and a $75 fee to participate in the marching band. The fees have no family cap or discounts.
Dinopoulos said the move will save the district around $200,000 a year. While it is a small amount compared to the annual budget, it is not the end to the cuts. He said the board will have to continue to make tough choices in the coming months.
"We are looking at more cuts in May," he said. "The issue of open enrollment is back on the table as well."
As for a return to the polls this November, Dinopoulos said at this point he is not sure. While it is an option, the board is presently more focused on how to balance the budget and what cuts can, or must, be made.
The next board meeting will be on May 14 and Dinopoulos said there would be further steps taken as Poland School District tries to work within the funding it has available.