Bill Would Ban Extracurricular Activities Fees

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. August 26, 2013

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Assemblyman John Burzichelli (photo by Phil Gregory)

Public schools in New Jersey could not charge students a fee to participate in extracurricular activities if a bill being introduced in the legislature is enacted.

Assemblyman John Burzichelli says New Jersey residents pay enough in property taxes to support schools and should not have to pay more for after school activities.

“Public education is the great equalizer, and when you start offering an a la carte menu of what a student can participate in based on their ability to pay, it no longer is equal.”

Burzichelli says some parents might not be able to afford the extracurricular fees, and that would put their kids at a competitive disadvantage.

 “When you have a public school system that is supposed to provide equally for every child based on their interests and ability, and now you put a financial test on it, saying you can’t do that unless you are willing to write another check, there are going to be kids left behind.”

Burzichelli says participation in sports, theater, music and other extracurricular programs can help students get scholarships for college.

“The child that may not necessarily be excelling necessarily academically may excel in one of these other areas and offer opportunities for further scholarships to them. If the avenue of participation is limited by their ability to pay, the potential for them to access scholarship opportunities going forward may not exist.”

A spokesman for the New Jersey School Boards Association says it will review the proposed legislation before taking a position on it.


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