Hillman board implements fee for sports participation

HILLMAN — Athletes who want to play sports for Hillman Community Schools now have to pay a fee to play.

The district Board of Education met in special session Sunday and voted to implement a sports fee that requires students to pay $50 per sport.

The board met to discuss cuts as the district works to overcome a $464,000 budget shortfall caused mostly by declining enrollment. The school already has identified 10 potential layoffs and approved nine, though five paraprofessionals were recalled at a meeting on Wednesday.

The fee would generate $11,150 based on the 223 athletes from the 2018-19 school year.

The district eliminated pay-to-play a couple of years ago, which generated approximately $20,000 each year, and the district will not be bringing that back right now to help district costs.

“I’m not recommending anything more,” district Superintendent Carl Seiter said Sunday.

Seiter said the district will not replace a teacher in the junior/senior high school who is expected to turn in their resignation letter. That will save the district $86,989.

One item on the list of budget cuts was a secondary social studies teacher position, but because of the pending resignation letter, Seiter said there will not be more teacher layoffs.

“This is an extremely difficult process and it’s never easy,” Seiter said Sunday. “We will overcome this and very likely, we have to move back to a seven-period day and by doing so, we may be able to increase the amount of electives by doing that. I’m going to push for some of those electives.”

People stepped up and helped the district during a difficult situation, Seiter said. He said the pain through the decision-making process will sting the district for now.

“We’ll survive, we’ll get through this,” Seiter said.

Julie Goldberg can be reached at 989-358-5688 or jgoldberg@thealpenanews.com. Follow her on Twitter @jkgoldberg12.