Budget cuts in the state of Arizona are restricting the amount of money that districts such as Tempe Union can allocate to school-sponsored athletics.
Booster club support is the difference between parents paying $300 for football camp costs and upward of $1,000 for cheerleading expenses.
The out-of-pocket costs can keep low-income students from playing sports or participating in extracurricular activities.
Social settings provided by sports and other extracurricular activities are vital for students.
Isaac Daniels, a varsity football player McClintock High School, has high-functioning autism and only feels equal to his classmates when they are on the field together.
But, there are policy discrepancies in fee requirements at the high school level, where district policy requires an activity fee $50 per student-athlete.
Team expenses differ at each school, but cheerleading expenses show that athletes have to pay coaching stipend fees out-of-pocket and the basketball team budget reveal that boosters are buying team uniforms against district policy.
Tempe Union High School District has a $50 activity fee for athletes, but national research and Tempe team websites suggest that out-of-pocket costs for student-athletes are much higher.
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A collection of stories created by the 2015-2016 graduate students
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