HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - If you want to play, you're going to have to pay.

Students at the township's intermediate, middle school and high school levels will be required to pay a fee in order to participate in extra-curricular activities beginning next month with the 2019-20 school year, according to a notice received by parents earlier this week.

The board had finalized the policy in April, following voters' defeat of a March 12 referendum that would have raised taxes to pay for a budget shortfall of several million dollars created when the state reduced school aid to several districts across New Jersey.

Sign Up for Somerville Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Township schools have lost $5.6 million in state aid the past two years.

Other school districts have also adopted a "Pay to Play" policy to ease budget shortfalls.

The policy applies to all athletics, marching band and winter guard and cheerleading and club activities..

Fees will range from $40-$100 for each activity.

A student who may participate in three seasons of varsity sports - football, basketball and baseball - will pay a total of $300, according to the guidelines received by parents.

The notice received by parents also stipulates that the fee schedule will be reviewed each year, with notification made prior to the beginning of the new school year concerning any changes in the fees.

The notice distributed to parents reads as follows:

"Due to difficult budgetary issues and the failed referendum on March 12, 2019, Hillsborough Schools will join many districts throughout the state that charge students for participating in afterschool activities, including athletics, clubs, and marching band.  These fees will only be assessed to students at the intermediate, middle, and high school levels.

"The details of costs associated for various activities can be found in the Activities Participation Fees Policy which is currently being finalized by the Board of Education.  Further information regarding payment options and due dates will be forthcoming as such activities are scheduled. For example, information regarding fall athletics will be communicated by the Athletic Director next week.  Information regarding marching band will be sent shortly by the Supervisor of Performing Arts."

The Activities Participation Fees Policy reads as follows:

As we begin the school year, principals will inform students and their families of various club activities.  If your child plans to participate in extra-curricular activities, please review the Activity Participation Fees Policy, and you will be contacted and provided additional information as the activity is scheduled.

The details of costs associated for various activities can be found in the Activities Participation Fees Policy which is currently being finalized by the Board of Education.  Further information regarding payment options and due dates will be forthcoming as such activities are scheduled. For example, information regarding fall athletics will be communicated by the Athletic Director next week.  Information regarding marching band will be sent shortly by the Supervisor of Performing Arts.   

As we begin the school year, principals will inform students and their families of various club activities.  If your child plans to participate in extra-curricular activities, please review the Activity Participation Fees Policy, and you will be contacted and provided additional information as the activity is scheduled.

The Activity Participation Fee Program which follows provides details and fees for each of the three grade levels:

"The Board of Education recognizes the value of athletic competition and co-curricular activities outside the regular instructional program. However, with reduced or limited revenue and increased expenses, the Board must consider alternative revenue options to support these school-sponsored activities.

"Therefore, the Board of Education authorizes the establishment of an activity participation fee program as a supplemental revenue source contributing to a percentage of the school district’s total costs for operating school-sponsored activities. The Activity Participation Fee Program will require each student participating in a school-sponsored  athletic or co-curricular activity to pay a participation fee. The specific activities and fee amounts will be recommended by the Superintendent of Schools and approved by the Board on an annual basis prior to the commencement of the registration or sign-up process for the activity.
 
Student Activity Fees
 
The following student activity fees will apply:
 
A. High School Activities

 1. Athletics/Marching​ ​Band and Winter Guard/Cheerleading
 There will be an annual activity fee of $100 for each individual sport in which a student participates. If a student participates in a fall, winter and spring sport, there will be three separate $100 fee payments required with the following exceptions:

● $100 fee for participation in one or more track teams (cross country, winter track              and spring track);

● $100 fee for participation in one or more cheerleading squads;

● $100 fee for participation in marching band* and winter guard 
 
2. Clubs and Activities $50 fee.
 
There will be an annual $50 fee to participate in any of the high school clubs/activities. Once the activity fee is paid, the student may participate in as may of these clubs/activities as he/she chooses, schedule permitting, during the respective school year. *Note:Bands other than marching band are considered clubs. If a student participates in marching band, they will not be required to pay an additional $50 fee to participate.
 
B. Middle School Activities

There will be an annual $40 fee to participate in any of the middle school sports/clubs/activities. Once the activity fee is paid, the student may participate in as many of  these sports/clubs/activities as he/she chooses, schedule permitting, during the respective school year.
 
C. Intermediate School Activities
 
There will be an annual $25 fee to participate in any of the intermediate school clubs/activities. Once the activity fee is paid, the student may participate in as many of these clubs/activities as he/she chooses, schedule permitting, during the respective school year.
 
D. Waivers
 
The Board of Education does not wish to create a barrier for students to participate in sports/band/cheerleading/clubs/activities. Therefore, families who qualify for free or reduced lunch are eligible for an activity fee waiver. 
 
Fee Collection Schedule
 
The student activity fee for sports, bands and cheerleading are due after tryouts and final determination  of teams/bands/squads and before the first practice. Fees for athletic activities which do not require tryouts shall be paid before the first meeting of the activity. 
 
Student activity fees for clubs/activities are due at the organizational meeting of the first club the student  oins during the academic year.
 
Payment


Payment of fees shall be made either through the district’s online payment company or ​in the form of a check made payable to the Hillsborough Township Board of Education and provided with the Activity Fee Registration Form to the athletic office or activity advisor. All checks will be forwarded from the athletic office and activity advisors to the Business Office. 
 
Refunds
 
Refunds will not be made for any reason once the team or club roster has been determined. Refunds will not be made to students who:
 
1. Drop out of a sport or club before the season or club has ended.

2. Are suspended from a sport or club because of a rule violation.

3. Become academically ineligible.

 4. Are injured and unable to compete or participate.

5. Move out of the district.