ANCHORAGE -

It's a $7 million expense but only 1.2 percent of the Anchorage School District's budget. The direct sport activity cost per student ranges anywhere from just under $200 to $1,000.

It's a cost the district's secondary supervisor Derek Hagler says the community sets as a top priority.

"There's been some talk about should we charge for sports exactly what they cost but again the community was real clear they did not feel that was the best allocation we should have," Hagler said.

The district moved from a flat-rate activity fee to a tiered system based on overall cost of the activity. For those that cost less, like tennis and cross-country it's a fee of $175. From there the next two levels of fees are $185 and $195.

"We've certainly heard from the community on how important sports are," Hagler said. "It is one of the few places that we do get to collect some fees. We collect about $900,000 a year."

The overwhelming thing the district is paying for is time. Whether it's in the pool or on the ice, the costs for using swimming and hockey facilities range from $500 to $600.

ASD says all the sports combined generate about $2 million in revenue and the rest of the cost, $5 million, is picked up by the district. The only way for the district to make more money on sports is to raise activity fees or ticket prices and by selling sponsorships. The district says its facilities that house many of state tournaments help offset travel costs and save money.

"At this point there are no changes to secondary sports," Hagler said. "We did add middle school basketball for both boys and girls but for this year there's no cuts expected."

The addition of middle school basketball has allowed a thousand more students to participate. As far as the future of ASD athletics, Hagler says lacrosse and field hockey might be sports to consider but he will either need Alaska to have shorter winters or an indoor facility will have to present itself.