Pine River Area Schools Eliminates Pay to Participate
At the June 4, 2018, regular meeting of the Board of Education, Pine River Area Schools eliminated the athletic policy of Pay to Participate. The Board struck down the old policy, 7-0. According to Board President, Jim Peterson, there was a time for the policy. Money was tight. When times were their absolute toughest, Pine River, like so many other school districts, adopted a Pay to Participate policy designed to help offset the rising cost of operating a public school system. But tightening the belt the last couple of years has helped changed some perspectives.
“Students and parents shouldn’t have to worry about finding $50 to play football, volleyball, or run cross country in late August,” stated Superintendent Matt Lukshaitis, who added, “We want to maximize participation at Pine River. If eliminating Pay to Participate helps even one student-athlete be part of our athletic teams, then I think we should create the opportunity.”
Shawn Ruppert, Pine River Middle School-High School Athletic Director added, “I feel this is a great decision for everyone involved in our athletic program, from the players, to the parents, to the coaches. We want kids to participate, period. Any hurdle that we can remove that will increase our participation numbers, is a good thing.”
Mr. Lukshaitis went on to say, “In the end, abolishing the policy of Pay to Participate is just the right thing to do for kids. We want to develop the entire student—academically, physically, socially, and emotionally. Athletics are a huge part of learning how to plan, set goals, develop a purpose, and achieve objectives as a member of a team and as an individual. Our athletic teams do pretty well at Pine River because our coaches are program-oriented, not single season-oriented. We don’t want to win at the expense of the experience and this helps us maintain our integrity, focus on school pride, and keeps winning traditions alive and well. The Board of Education made a powerful decision last night,” he added, “and I couldn’t be happier for our kids and our community.”