CUSD: You don't need to pay to play

FRESNO, Calif. UPDATE: Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Uniforms for Clovis Unified elementary cheerleading programs will be provided to parents and students by their school. Uniforms will be purchased as school property at a cost of $125 dollars each. Costs for the uniforms will be covered by a Parent Teacher Club or Associated Student Body fund. If a parent wants to keep their child's uniform they have the option to buy it from the school.

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Clovis Unified says after years of being able to spare no expense for things like cheerleading uniforms and elaborates trips for the band; the district is asking parents to cut back on spending.

Young cheerleaders are learning new cheers and chants at the Jefferson elementary cheer camp. Lori Peffley says her daughter has been cheering for four years.

'It's something she's always wanted to do. She came home from kindergarten with a flier from school," Peffley said.

Starting next year, elementary cheerleading uniforms throughout Clovis Unified will cost $125. In the past parents paid two to $400 to purchase customize uniforms.

"We were at 200 about 250 with everything. We found vendors that were cheaper," Jefferson Elementary Principal Jeff Tiftick said.

"It's good it cuts back on costs," Peffley said.

And instead of replacing uniforms for an entire squad every year Jefferson will now buy standard uniforms replacing them every 5 years. Band students throughout the district are already scaling back.

"Maybe they wouldn't go on such big trips or as far away," Steve Ward said.

Associate superintendent Steve Ward says the district examined all programs to see where it could cut costs. He says parents would pay for things like uniforms thru fundraising, donations and ticket sales, but communities have scaled back.

"In reaction to the economy. I think all non profits are seeing the same thing. Fundraising levels, not the same as a few years ago," Ward said.

Changes in Clovis Unified standards also come after a group of four parents filed a lawsuit against the district last October. The suit claims the district failed to provide a free public education by asking parents to pay for extracurricular goods or services.

The attorney representing the parents did not want to comment on this story, but Clovis Unified says students do not have to pay to play.

"We're a public agency, a public school there is no cost to participate in activities," Ward said.

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