Cy-Fair school district charging young athletes to use high school track
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A controversy has erupted as young athletes are being asked to pay for the right to run at one public high school track in Cypress.
The school district says people started complaining about groups on the track here at Langham Creek High School, and so two weeks ago, school officials kicked them off the track. But one coach says it leaves his young athletes without a place to train.
Maddie Wilson is just seven years old, but already she can hit 10 feet 4 inches in the long jump.
"Maybe if I keep on jumping more and higher and higher I can finally live my dream and go to the Junior Olympics," said Wilson.
But with her first meet of the season coming up this weekend, her training has hit a hurdle.
"It's really no fair," she said.
Wilson is one of a few kids who works with Carnel McIntyre, a private track and long jump coach. They worked out at the Langham High track, beginning last year until two weeks ago.
"On that Monday, they had a staff person post saying you could not be on this track if you were coaching," McIntyre said.
Cy-Fair ISD says it's board policy -- non-profit groups must pay a $40 an hour fee and for-profit groups aren't allowed to use the track at all.
The district didn't enforce the policy until two weeks ago, saying in a statement to Eyewitness News, "Signage reflects that the Langham Creek High School track is designated for individual/community member use only. Patrons have complained about groups monopolizing this track."
"I got a call from the administrator over at facilities and she said I could rent the track," said McIntyre.
But McIntyre says he shouldn't pay a fee to train a Cy-Fair ISD student.
Wilson and her mom say they don't monopolize the track and they can't afford the rental fee.
"I don't see why a child that goes to a Cy-Fair school should be charged, but a walker who lives in the community doesn't get charged," said Chantel Wilson, Maddie's mom.
We called other school districts to find out their policies. Katy ISD does not charge for use of its tracks. HISD and Spring ISD did not get back to us. But another private running coach we contacted said in his experience, public schools don't charge unless the group is too large.
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