It's official: CMS students must pay to play | Schools
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte - Mecklenburg School (CMS) district athletes must now pay to play sports. The school board unanimously approved that plan at its Tuesday night board meeting.
CMS is facing a nearly $80 million budget shortfall. The board agreed to eliminate middle school sports to save the district about $1.3 million.
Some board members and some in the community didn't want the athletic programs to go away altogether. That's how pay to play was created. CMS Athletic Director Vicki Hamilton believes sports programs make a difference for students.
"They are learning teamwork," Hamilton said. "Learning citizenship, sportsmanship, and we know their grades are better."
Middle school athletes will have to pay $50 per sport and high school athletes will have to play $100 per sport to participate. There will be scholarships for students who cannot afford the fee. So far about $55,000 in scholarship money has been raised to cover students who will struggle to pay the fee. Schools are also stepping up to help.
"Many of our high schools are saying we are going to take care of our own student athletes," Hamilton told WBTV. "We have the means to do that."
CMS is still working on how the scholarship program will work. Hamilton says rules are unclear but she does know parents will have 30 days to pay the fee.
CMS will unveil more specifics about the program in a few weeks.
Copyright 2010 WBTV. All rights reserved.