The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

January 24, 2014

Pay-to-play challenged

CLINTON — Prince of Peace Prep and Clinton Community Schools are accustomed to sharing. Both districts come from the same town, draw from the same tax base, and in several cases, pool their athletes.

That last point, though, is something the Catholic institution has started to question according to a letter presented to the Clinton Community School District board on Jan. 13.

Because of its smaller size, Prince of Peace doesn't offer certain extra-curricular activities like football, softball and swimming. The two districts have arranged a co-op agreement so Irish athletes can still attend the Catholic institution while tapping into numerous organized sports.

According to the letter, Prince of Peace administrators are asking Clinton to "consider a different perspective as to the formula" Clinton Schools use when charging the prep school per co-op student-athlete.

"We've always been charged for that," said Nancy Peart, Prince of Peace K-12 principal.

This week, she said, administrators at her school received Clinton's response to the matter.

"This wasn't anything new," Peart said. "There are squeezes on school budgets. We mentioned that our parents are taxpayers as well and we thought maybe we'd approach (Clinton Schools) to see if they'd review that policy."

Peart said her board did an informal study about other co-op athletic schools in eastern Iowa. Prince of Peace surveyed seven programs including Davenport Assumption and Bellevue Marquette Catholic. Of those seven, only one district — Calamus-Wheatland — had a "pay to play" program, charging $100 per student for football and soccer.

In Prince of Peace's case, the school pays Clinton Schools a percentage of the given sports' fixed costs. In one example, the Catholic school said if five of 50 athletes were from Prince of Peace, the school would be charged 10 percent of the cost of the program.

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