Richfield School Board member questions charging students admission at athletic events

/ 29 May 2012 / jennifer

Andrew Wig, MN Sun Current, May 29, 2012 –

The annual fee that gives Richfield students unlimited admittance to varsity athletic events will remain priced at $45 next school year, the Richfield School Board decided last week.

One board member, however, would like to see the fee waived altogether.

“It’s almost discriminatory to some of our financially challenged students that they don’t get to go the game,” said Boardmember Deb Etienne during a school board meeting Monday, May 21.

The revenue the fees generate, she argued, is negligible anyway. The district sold 36 passes this year for a total of $1,620, and 77 passes for $3,240 in 2011.

Some students attend junior varsity games that precede the varsity games and stick around to avoid paying entrance fees, Etienne noted.

The hope would be that free student-entry would boost attendance. District Business Manager Michael Schwartz, however, expressed doubt in such an effect.

“The feeling was,” he said at the board meeting, “that we wouldn’t necessarily have any more kids (attending) than we do now” should the fee be waived.

Boardmember Todd Nollenberger warned the board of possible “unintended consequences” in waiving the fees. The fees help make sure those attending the games are there for the right reasons, and not there to cause a disturbance, he said.

Etienne responded, saying there are any number of locations away from school where people can congregate and cause trouble.

“They can congregate at the high school, where we have supervision … or they can congregate at the park where they can cause trouble,” she argued.

All board members except Etienne voted to keep the activity pass fees, as well as participation fees, at their current levels.