CATAWISSA RR - The Southern Columbia Area School Board did not adopt the pay-to-participate policy at the board meeting Monday night, but the members amended it and will likely vote to adopt the measure at next month's board meeting.

Girls soccer coach Derek Stine asked the board to reconsider a portion of the guidelines in which students who elect to leave a team or activity would not be allowed a refund on participation fees.

The board members agreed, and changed the policy to read that participation fees may be refunded to students who are cut or voluntarily leave a team or activity before the first game or event if that is the only activity in which the student is participating.

Directors Gail Zambor Schuerch and John Yocum made and seconded the motion to approved the first reading of the policy, and it passed 5-3 with Directors Timothy Vought, Thomas Reich and Joseph Klebon voting against it.

While no fee is set yet, the board expects to generate $20,000 in revenue provided the fee is $50 per student.

Revenue from pay-to-play would help erase an estimated budget deficit for 2014-15 that's currently at $650,000, directors said.

The district will make concessions for families with multiple students and will not charge students who qualify for free or reduced lunch programs.

Southern would be the first local school district to institute the policy, but the practice is gaining in popularity. The Pennsylvania School Board Association and Pennsylvania State Athletic Directors Association in 2012 released a survey that reported the number of schools charging a fee for sports and extracurricular programs has more than doubled in just two years.

Some school activities are extracurricular, such as sports and certain clubs, while others are co-curricular, such as band or music programs, which count for grades.