'Pay to Play' Proposed for Duval County Sports | News

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'Pay to Play' Proposed for Duval County Sports

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- "Pay to play" is on the table for discussion as Duval County Public Schools tries to save money in the face of a projected $53 million budget shortfall.

The school board during a budget presentation learned one option is a $75 per student per sport fee.

District Athletic Director John Fox said the idea surfaced last year before the community raised nearly $600,000 to save sports on the chopping block.

Fox said the participation fee would not apply to students on free or reduced lunch.

The pay plan would apply to high, middle and junior varsity sports. Currently around 15,000 students participate in sports in Duval County.

Fletcher High coach Ricky Medlock has been coaching for 29 years and sees pay-to-play as a sign of the times.

"With my kids personally I do whatever it takes," said Medlock who has two sons playing two sports.

Medlock believes for some families it will be a hardship. "You cannot turn them away from playing sports.  How are we going to support those kids?"

Fletcher High athletic director Joe Reynolds is confident everything will work out.

"They got in there with free and reduced lunch so kids will be able to participate.  I don't see it hurting at all," said Reynolds.

The pay-to-play plan will be rolled out to school athletic directors with the district planning to meet with parent and booster groups to answer questions.



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