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The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

Athletics Department Scraps Team Fees, Problems Persist

Staff illustration: Andrea Li

In an effort to eliminate financial barriers to play Menlo sports, parents of Menlo athletes are no longer required to pay a team fee for their child to participate in a sport starting in the 2023-24 school year. These fees, according to Director of Athletics Earl Koberlein, covered the costs of events such as team dinners, pregame and postgame snacks and senior day celebration costs.

According to Koberlein, the team fees ranged from $200 to $600 in the 2022-23 school year. Menlo Chief Financial Officer Bill Silver said that the costs of four team dinners, pregame and postgame snacks and senior day expenses will be incorporated into the school budget instead. According to Koberlein, team banquets and team overnight trips will continue to be paid by the attendees and are not part of the new budgeted amounts replacing team fees.

Silver said that the main reason that team fees were removed is because a lot of the things that team fees were paying for should be included in the tuition, particularly food for practices and games. “After you’ve paid what you paid to be at Menlo, […] you should never pay another fee so your child can participate in a sport,” Silver said. Parents could previously receive financial aid to pay the fee through Admissions and Financial Aid Assistant Rose Garza if needed.

However, removing team fees has not come without difficulty. According to a team parent for a fall sport, parents for that sport have had difficulty getting reimbursed for purchases that were covered by team fees last year. Parents who provided food for games needed to keep track of receipts and send them to Administrative Assistant Stephanie Wieger, but some said the system of reimbursement was unclear and parents were not immediately compensated. “So in September, [the Athletics Department] said, ‘Just submit your receipts. You’ll get reimbursed within five business days.’ And I said, ‘Okay, great.’ And then nothing came about for a few weeks. Then all of a sudden, they said, ‘Oh no, you need to fill this [detailed expense report] out.’ And my response was, ‘Oh, wow, that’s a lot of detail.’ It has been very tedious retroactively having to go through all the receipts,” the team parent said. 

In place of team fees is an expense report form that team parents must fill out. However, the team parent stated that they didn’t receive the expense report until early October even though most fall sports began in August. Even after completing the expense forms and sending receipts, some parents were not immediately reimbursed. “I was told that it’s going to take another two weeks for finance to approve and then send a check,” the team parent said on Nov. 8.

Prior to the 2022-23 school year, team parents and coaches would set expenses for the program. Banquet costs were removed from the team fee in the 2022-23 school year due to parent complaints about the fee becoming too expensive.  People that attended the end-of-season banquet would pay their share of the cost and individual families could give a coaches gift, but these expenses were not included in the team fee. “If you’re not going to the banquet, you shouldn’t have to pay [to go to the banquet],” Koberlein said. “If you and your grandparents and your aunts and uncles go and there’s eight of you, you probably should pay eight times the $10 or $20.”

Now, the athletics department comes up with the costs of team meals, food on the road, food after games and Senior Day, which Silver includes in the school budget for athletics. The team parent is also optimistic that the process of reimbursement will be easier in the future. “I think it will be easier for teams going forward, because this season is the first season that they’ve instituted this new process and they’re probably working out the kinks,” the parent said. 

The parent also believes that having team fees be paid for by the school is overall a good thing. “It’s a very generous gesture by the school,” they said. “It definitely benefits the families and the teams.”

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About the Contributor
Miki Kimura
Miki Kimura, Head Copy Editor

Number of years in The Coat of Arms: 2

Favorite aspect of journalism: Learning new things about the Menlo community through interviews

Interests outside of school: art, music, anime, reading, writing, spending time with friends and family

Class of 2025

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