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      Parents adjust to pay-to-play sports

      Facing budget cuts and strapped for cash, Traverse City Area Public Schools faced some tough decisions last year.

      Figuring out how to fund middle school and elementary school sports programs was one of the issues they faced.

      TCAPS decided to create the Learning Enrichment and Athletics Program (LEAP), which is essentially a pay-to-play system for elementary and middle school students.

      For second and third graders the opportunity is $40 a kid. For fourth and fifth graders, its $50 a kid. For sixth, $75. For seventh and eighth graders, $100 a kid with a family cap at $250 for middle school and $200 at the elementary level, said Scott Robertson, LEAP Director.

      The new fees have not impacting student participation and the school does have financial aid for families who can not afford to pay for sports programs.

      We do have in place a scholarship program that allows families that express a need, financial need, to still have their kids participate, Robertson said.

      This is the first school year TCAPS has used the LEAP Program.

      Robertson said they will evaluate its success at the end of the year.