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New school facility fee increase shortchanges our children

By Meg Miller
Posted Monday, June 15, 2009

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Pittsboro, NC - Dear Chatham parents and players, here is something some of you might miss and just might concern you if you have kids who want to play travel basketball or volleyball in the area. Those sports require gym space and gym rentals.

Tuesday night the Board of Education will vote to adopt a new rental fee that will increase the gym rentals to non-profits to $50 per hour. County owned buildings, built with tax dollars, maintained with tax dollars and now we're basically going to lock the doors with this cost increase.

I don't have a pony in this show, my daughter has pretty much given up on basketball. But up until last year we did rent gyms in Chatham at $30 per hour and that was hard enough to come up with when you're talking two hour practices twice a week or more. Then you add the other costs associated with the sport. Yes, this is an optional "luxury" we took on mainly because there was no real basketball being offered to her in middle school.

It didn't get much better in high school.

But now I'm talking about your kids and their future opportunities and how this $50 gym fee is just, in my opinion, too much to ask at a time when folks are tapped out trying to find anything positive or active to do with their kids. I realize we are struggling for every dime, but there's got to be a some other way to raise revenue. This will not make you any more money Board of Education, because in the end fewer people will rent the gyms and your "profit" will be neutral.

But is that what's being done here? Raising the fees to a level that fewer and fewer folks will actually be able to use the facilities owned by the county. There is no county gym, so these are the only available. This is not promoting fitness or helping families support those efforts started in school to do something about the obesity epidemic. This move it totally counter productive.

All that's left to do is for the local community to support out sports teams when they come knocking and asking for help to defray some of the costs to keep our kids in the game. I will be one of those supporters.

But I do not support this fee increase and neither should you BOE!

Here you'll find a list of the new fees.

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