Prep sports' future discussed

Committee to look at funding of Tier 1 and Tier 2 athletics

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— A committee of Steamboat Springs High School administrators, coaches, parents and athletes will review the future of sports in the Steamboat Springs School District.

During Monday's Steamboat Springs School Board meeting, board members asked for the formation of a committee to review the state of athletics in the district and what, if anything, can be done to help equalize funding for Tier 1 and Tier 2 sports.

The committee likely will explore what rates other Colorado schools charge for athletic participation and how other schools fund their sports.

Steamboat Springs High School Principal Mike Kneze-

vich has put much of that information together, and the facts and figures were presented to the School Board on Monday.

For school-funded, or Tier 1 sports, Steamboat charges $100 per sport with a $200 maximum per family, including middle school sports if families have children at both the high school and middle school. Otherwise, middle school fees are $50 per sport with a $100 maximum per family.

Fees vary for Tier 2 sports, which are sports not funded by the district. Those sports are responsible for raising funds to support their programs, which was the agreement the sports reached with the district in order to become activities.

The district's Tier 2 high school sports are golf, softball, skiing, hockey, tennis, baseball, lacrosse and cheerleading.

A look at 12 other Colorado public schools revealed that Steamboat's system of categorizing sports into tiers is atypical in the state, and Steamboat's participation fees are less than what most other schools charge.

For example, Boulder Valley schools and Cherry Creek schools do not have nonfunded sports, but Boulder Valley charges $135 a sport with as much as a $405 family maximum.

In the Cherry Creek School District, fees are $90 a season regardless of how many sports a student plays and there is no family maximum.

The sampling prompted discussion from School Board members Monday.

School Board President Denise Connelly and board member Jerry Kozatch suggested an increase in participation fees and family maximums to help generate more money for the athletics budget.

The board previously discussed the possibility of paying Tier 2 coaches salaries and transportation costs to help alleviate the financial burden for those teams.

Board member John DeVincentis brought up the original agreement between Tier 2 sports and the district after he suggested a committee look at participation rates to help determine which sports are Tier 1 or Tier 2.

"When we started Tier 2, they said they would assume financial responsibility (for funding their sports)," DeVincentis said. "And if they are giving up on that, then maybe they are giving up the sport."

No action was taken during Monday's meeting.

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