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FRHSD will not institute participation fees for clubs, activities in 2020-21

The Freehold Regional High School District Board of Education will not charge parents a fee for their children to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities during the 2020-21 school year.

During a board meeting on June 22, district administrators said there has been a change in the plan that was expected to have gone into effect in September.

Under that plan, students participating on interscholastic sports teams and in other school activities and clubs would have been required to “pay to play.” As of June, the board had not revealed to the public what the participation fees would have been.

Administrators said they were making the move to a “pay to play” model as the result of an ongoing reduction in the district’s state aid.

Following the June 22 meeting, district spokeswoman Rebecca Policastro said, “The participation fees will not be in effect for the 2020-21 school year. We know the coronavirus has had a financial impact on the community and even though the district is still being gutted by S-2, we felt it was not appropriate to move forward with the fees at this time.”

S-2 is the name by which 2018 legislation that was passed in the state Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy is commonly known.

The law redistributes state aid among New Jersey’s 600 school districts. As a result, some school districts have seen an increase in the amount of aid they are receiving and some school districts have seen a decrease in their state aid.

The FRHSD lost state aid in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years and is expected to continue losing state aid through the 2024-25 school year under S-2. The district received $46.5 million in state aid for 2019-20 and is scheduled to receive $40.7 million for the 2020-21 school year.

The district’s sending municipalities are Colts Neck, Englishtown, Farmingdale, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Howell, Manalapan and Marlboro. The district educates about 10,600 students in six high schools.

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