Texas students are feeling the impact of more than $5 billion in state budget cuts, according to a recent survey of state public school superintendents conducted by the Texas American Federation of Teachers.
To compensate for lost funding elsewhere, a handful of Texas superintendents reported that their districts are charging fees for extracurricular activities, such as school sports.
The survey compiled results from 241 district superintendents across the state. In total, 5 percent of respondents said their districts charged for extracurriculars.
Of course, Texas schools aren't the only ones charging K-12 students to play sports. According to a 2009 survey from the National Federation of State High School Associations, 33 states reported having at least one school that charged participation fees for sports or other extracurriculars.
For one rural Texas district, pay-to-play fees would be the least of their sports-related concerns at the moment.
The Premont Independent School District will be eliminating all sports teams (for the time being) as a cost-cutting measure, according to the Wall Street Journal. (Hat tip to Rural Education blogger Diette Courrégé.)
Long story short: After the state threatened to shut down the low-performing district, the superintendent decided to cut sports as a last-ditch effort to temporarily suspend sports and improve the schools elsewhere.
According to the WSJ:
"If the students show academic progress and the district can budget responsibly, the state may keep the district open. If that happened, sports would return. By then, however, it would be too late for some students."
If school sports aren't immune from budget cuts in sports-crazy Texas, that should speak largely to the severity of schools' economic situations around the state.
For more perspective on how budget cuts are leaving schools in precarious situations, check out our story from this week on superintendents being forced into part-time positions.
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