Shelton approves reimbursing parents for pay-to-play costs

Shelton quarterback Michael Kinik throws a pass during a football scrimmage at Hamden High School, Hamden on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022.

Shelton quarterback Michael Kinik throws a pass during a football scrimmage at Hamden High School, Hamden on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022.

Pete Paguaga / Hearst Connecticut file photo

SHELTON — Shelton High athletes will not have to pay to play this school year.

The Board of Aldermen, at its meeting Thursday, approved $250,000 to reimburse parents who are paying a fee for their children to participate in athletics during the 2022-23 school year. The money is coming from American Rescue Plan funds.

According to Superintendent Ken Saranich, parents would still have to pay the necessary fees to participate in athletics but would receive a receipt from the Board of Education that would then be presented to the city for reimbursement.

“We still need to work out the details,” Saranich said.

Mayor Mark Lauretti, a staunch opponent of the pay-to-play requirement since its inception, said the city is ready in case the Board of Education needs additional funds on top of the $250,000 to cover fee reimbursements.

“There are still a lot of families who are feeling the impact of the inflation in the country and we’re in a position to help,” Lauretti said. “We’re here to help people … and that’s what we’re going to do when it’s appropriate.”

Lauretti said these types of extracurricular activities are just as important to the learning process as what happens in the classroom.

“It will be very helpful to parents and students in this time of such high inflation,” Board of Education Chair Kathy Yolish said about the aldermen’s decision. “It is a great and most appreciative gesture on the city’s part and sure to benefit the social/emotional component that is so concerning to educators, parents and board members.”

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com