Investigation: Nampa school sports costs vary

Posted at 4:24 AM, Nov 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-20 06:24:58-05

If you want your kids to play sports in high school you generally expect paying some fees associated with the game of their choice.

After we were contacted by a Nampa family to find out why they were paying more cash for their teens than other students in the district, 6 On Your Side discovered what you pay depends on where you play.

The Eisele family has two teenagers that both love soccer and music.

To meet the musical requirements, Jadelyn and Keagan Eisele attend Idaho Arts in Nampa which is a charter school that doesn’t offer sports.

Both teenagers had to try out for the Columbia High School soccer teams to be able to play and when they made the teams, Heide and Richard Eisele received a bill to find out that the cost was about $1100 for JadeLyn and Keagan to play.

The Nampa School District charges athletes enrolled in a district high school about $85 to play on a team.

However if the students are homeschooled or attend a charter, private or virtual school then the cost increases up to $545 per sport.

To put the cost into perspective, we compared the fees to other local Idaho districts and discovered that the West Ada School District charges a flat fee at $110 regardless of where you attend school.

Boise School Districts do not charge students at all to play sports.

When asked the Nampa School District Superintendent why the fees are so much more?

“The charter schools receive the same funding we do for these sorts of activities,” Superintendent David Peterson explained. “So it makes sense for us to figure out what it costs for a kid to be on a team and rather than us subsidizing the charter school, maybe the charter school should pay their proportional share of what it costs for a kid to be on a team."

Richard Eisele disagrees.

“It’s almost like they have put this umbrella over the Nampa School District kids saying our kids are the most important things here. And if you are not underneath this umbrella we are not going to do anything outside those lines to make you feel a part of the district,” Richard explained.

“We pay taxes like everyone else,” Heide furthered.

The tax dollars, like the supplemental levy passed in Nampa, go to the school district and non-traditional students don’t benefit directly from that extra money.

Richard feels like Nampa's choice to pass on the cost to those who attend charter schools are punishing his family.

“It should not matter where our kid goes in the school district if it fits their education needs. They shouldn't get punished if they still want to play sports and their school doesn't offer that," Richard said.

The additional school fees for out of district students started about thirteen years ago and although the school board reviews the fee structure annually, the fee amount has not changed since 2007.

The Nampa School District  has no plans to reallocate the pay to play dollars for non-district students at this time, but with new levy funding, the superintendent did make a promise for the next school year to review the fee structure.