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OPINION: 'Bravo' to the inflationary spiral of ticket prices for arts, sports in Perham

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For a family of four, it will cost $10 more this year to attend the Perham community theater musical "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."

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I'm not one who will be complaining about the price hike.

In fact, I say "bravo."

Last year, tickets were $7 for adults, $5 for students. The price this year is $10 for adults, $7 for students and seniors.

If memory serves, the ticket price was only $5 for adults as recently as a few years ago. Way too cheap. At that rate, the entire production probably broke even at best.

I'm pleased that the price has increased, because the arts are worth it. Too often, we don't place a high enough premium on arts activities.

In effect, it de-values the product.

"Bravo" to charging for concerts

This year for the first time the music departments at Perham High School will begin charging $3 and $5 for the choir Christmas concert and two "pops" concerts in the spring.

"Bravo," I say again.

Parents, but also the community at large, needs to recognize the value of the arts and one way to accomplish that is to place a price tag on the arts activities.

This is not the forum to discuss the recently failed school levy increase referendum, but with public education struggling with funding, school officials are cutting expenses and finding revenue any they can.

With or without increased operating revenue from the taxpayers, we need to recognize the value of extra curricular activities. And, we must be willing to pay for the privilege of participating--and "spectating."

"Bravo" to increase in sports fees, ticket prices

Same logic applies to athletic extra curricular activities.

Perham first initiated a participation fee in 2000, for those students and families involved in sports.

Truthfully, I'm surprised the fees were initiated that recently. Perham probably should have charged fees a long time ago.

Many schools have operated on the "pay to play" philosophy for years. And that is as it should be. It is a privilege to participate in sports activities. Ideally, these programs would be self-sustaining, financially.

"Bravo" I say to the increase in participation fees that were initiated this year--to a cap of $250 per family.

A history of participation fees and ticket prices was prepared by Perham High School Activities Director Fred Sailer.

---In 2003 raised fees per activity to $30 for 7/8 grade, $65 for grades 9-12, with a cap of $60/$130 per child and a family cap of $200.

---In 2008 raised fees per activity to $40 for 7/8 grade, $75 for grades 9-12, with a cap of $80/$150 per child and a family cap of $250.

---Annually activity fees generate $30,000-$33,000 per year.

---Students who qualify for free hot lunch may participate at no cost if they fill out a waiver.

---Students must pay a fee or submit a waiver for all extracurricular programs; athletics, fine arts, science research, mock trial, Knowledge Bowl, FFA etc.

---Gate receipts generate $52,000-$59,000 per year.

---Gate prices went up in 2005 from $2 for children, $4 per adult to $3/$5.

Should sports events be free for senior citizens?

Perham does not charge in-district senior citizens, but the school does charge out-of -district senior citizens.

The school's rationale is that local seniors have supported the school and programs throughout their adult life.

While that is a noble sentiment, I don't agree. Activities have a value, and in order to function, activities require ongoing sources of revenue. I can't imagine any senior in the Perham district that wouldn't pay, say $2, to attend a game.

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