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Many extracurricular costs paid by booster clubs--not taxpayers

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Perham, 56573
Perham Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

School officials have been on the defensive, getting the message out that sports and extracurricular expenses are not exorbitant.

Activities Director Fred Sailer has been concerned by numerous rumors that have surfaced, mostly initiated by opponents of the upcoming levy referendum.

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One figure that school officials have quoted frequently is that the extracurricular budget is only 3 percent of the school's total operating budget. Yet, more than 70 percent of the student population is involved in extracurricular activities.

In addition, there have been numerous cuts with extracurriculars--including scaling back paid coaches.

Sailer provided the Perham-Dent School Board with a list of responses to some of the issues that have been raised.

---Football boys pay for the fireworks at games and homecoming. They earn it, and they decide how they want to spend it. In truth, the added excitement brings more families to the game and the district's general fund benefits, contends Sailer.

---Football boys pay for pre-game meals from funds they earn. They choose to eat together and to eat healthy before a game. "I believe our downtown appreciates the business," added Sailer.

---The cross country team travels to the University of Minnesota to compete against the best competition in the country. This is not a qualifying event, so the cross country booster club pays for the trip--not the taxpayers.

---The swim team took a motor coach to the Iron Range this fall. The booster club paid the difference between a coach and school bus, then paid individually to fill the 17 extra seats.

---Board cut elementary athletics, but fund raisers paid for coaches to keep the programs alive.

---The wrestling team needed a new mat. The school asked the booster club to pay two-thirds of the cost. The club donated $6,000.

---Wrestling team was invited to compete in a nationally recognized tournament in Rochester; Mat Club will pay for lodging and meals.

"These are just a few of the latest rumors that should be squelched," said Sailer, who asked that those who hear of similar stories, should call to verify, at 346-1615.

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