As New Jersey parents prepare to send their kids back to school, they're also getting ready to open up their wallets to pay for extracurricular activities their children may be interested in.

Flickr User Ian Kahn
Flickr User Ian Kahn

Families now routinely pay to have their children participate in, such as after-school sports, band, and other activities.

One Garden State lawmaker is pushing a plan to change things.

Assemblyman John Burzichelli is sponsoring legislation that would forbid school districts from charging additional fees for after-school activities of any kind.

"People in New Jersey pay enough in property taxes to expect their child to be able to play on the football team without having to write another check," he says, "and the thought that the public school system would be allowed to have an a la carte menu for additional charges on people is of great concern."

He points out the added fees "are an attempt, in my opinion, to skirt the two-percent property tax cap that we have had to impose on the local tax agency. Property taxes are too high, and people are already paying too much."

Burzichelli adds the fees cause a great divide within the social circles at school, "and the idea that some may not be able to afford the fees is simply not what public education is about - public education is the great equalizer."

He stresses school districts must find additional ways to save money, so they can offer these programs to all students.


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