Walled Lake Athletics Athletic Participation Fee FAQ

Walled Lake Schools, like all districts in Michigan, has faced difficult financial times for what is now over 15 years.  Pay to Participate is one of many changes put in place to assist with limiting athletic program reductions. 

Where do Gate and Participation fees go?

100% of both Gate receipts and participation fees are used to cover a portion of the athletic expenditures district wide. Participation and gate revenue cover approximately 50% of the total athletic budget. Costs included in the Athletic Fund include items such as coach wages; fees for officials; field maintenance; equipment, etc. All remaining athletic expenditures, those not covered by revenue generated from these fees, are covered by the District General Fund.  The District General Fund is the same and only fund that covers all instructional expenditures. 

How are Participation fees spread to each sport?

Participation fees are not spread to individual sports.  All revenues raised, both from participation fees as well as gate receipts, go toward the total cost of athletic programs for the District.  The fees are intended to limit athletic program reductions throughout the district. 

What does it cost to run a sport?

There are several direct and indirect costs that are associated with running a sport.  Examples of direct cost would be coach’s salaries, officials, transportation, and state and league tournament fees along with awards. 

There are also several indirect costs that are part of providing athletic programs.  Although they are not as easily attributed to a given sport, they are necessary and unavoidable.  Examples include: 

  • Athletic trainers
  • Field maintenance
  • Medical supplies
  • Awards
  • Fertilization
  • Field paint
  • Equipment maintenance and repair
  • Central office expenses
  • Insurance
  • Game support
  • Miscellaneous supplies and materials

You can view the average cost per sport by clicking on the links below.

Why do we charge for Middle School events?

The last 15 years have been challenging financial times for school districts in Michigan. A small part of our budget plan included the implementation of middle school entrance fees. To date this fee has provided needed funds for equipment and uniforms at each of our four middle schools and continues to support our various athletic programs.

What is a Club Sport? 

A club sport is a sport that is not sanctioned by the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) but is still offered by our district.  These sports are entirely self-funded and do not receive financial support from the district.  Examples of club sports are: In-line Roller Hockey, Equestrian, Water Polo and Snow Boarding.

What is a varsity Sport?

A varsity sport is defined as a KLAA and MHSAA approved athletic program operated under the supervision of the building principal and district athletic director and which receives funding from the athletic subsidy provided by the Board of Education.  Due to budget restriction and availability of facilities, some varsity sports may be required to be partially self-funded in order to be a varsity sport.

Why do some sports like football have so many coaches and other sports only have 1?

Many of the coaches that you may see coaching student athletes are volunteers or coaches that are paid via the booster clubs.  There are three types of coaches:

  • District Paid Coaches – These are coaches that are paid directly by the district.  The number of paid coaches for each sport is established by contract.
  • Booster Funded Coaches - These are coaches that are paid by the booster club.  The district does not fund their salary. 
  • Volunteer Coaches – These are coaches that volunteer their time to the sport and do not receive any monetary compensation.

What is a self-funded sport?

Self-funded sports are those sports that are 100% self-sufficient.  They do not rely on any funds from the district and fund most of their expenses.  Walled Lake Self-Funded Sports include: Boys and Girls - Water Polo, Lacrosse, *Ice Hockey.  *Head Coaches salary supported by Athletic Department. 

Middle School Football has also been a self-funded sport since 2014/2015 with parents raising more than $20,000 annually to retain this athletic offering. 

Why are sports like Lacrosse, Hockey and Water Polo self-funded?

The district was not able to financially support the addition of these sports.  Instead of denying the students a chance to participate in a variety of sports, the district provided the opportunity for these sports to be added, with the stipulation that they would be 100% self-funded.  The Walled Lake Board of Education approved the addition of these sports with the understanding that the district would not take on any additional costs.  The district allows self-funded sports to utilize our facilities free of charge, supplies varsity letters, KLAA Scholar Athlete Patches, Pins, end of year trophies and athletic department support staff. 

Why are athletic fees so high?  Why do we charge a participation fee when other districts do not?

Walled Lake Consolidated School District, along with most school districts in Michigan, has made significant cost reductions as a result of a reduction in per-pupil funding from the state and decreased enrollment, both contributing to reduced resources. At the same time, operational costs including utilities and insurance continue to rise at a rate much faster than incoming revenue.  Rather than cut our athletic programs, the district implemented participation fees several years ago.

Our athletic participation fees are in line with other districts in our league, metro Detroit and the state of Michigan. Half of our athletes choose to play two sports.  If you play two sports in other districts, you fees would be:  Pinckney $420; Huron Valley $360; South Lyon $350; Novi $350; Hartland $350.  If your student chooses to play 3 sports in other districts fees are much higher. For example a three sport athlete in South Lyon would pay $525; Hartland $525 and Pinckney $630. 

The MHSAA Survey conducts an annual survey. Please access the MHSAA information with their survey online.

Why do we not charge per sport?

The cost per athlete for the majority of sports offered in Walled Lake is greater than the $425 per athlete fee.  We would like to encourage as much multi-sport participation as possible.  Having to pay multiple fees may discourage student-athletes from participating in more than one sport. There are benefits of multi-sport participation.