The School Committee is considering raising the playing fees by $50 next year to $300.
The fees would remain capped at $1,250 a year per family. And families that can demonstrate they cannot afford the fees will be reviewed on a case by case basis by High School Principal Layne Millington.
The fee increase would generate the $30,000 the athletic department says it needs because the current budget of $185,000 is not enough to cover the cost of running the sports programs, including four new varsity sports, Budget Director Ed Cronin told the committee.
Several years ago, the athletic department budget was cut by $50,000. Cronin and Millington said the athletic budget has had to be subsidized for several years.
The proposed fee increase is part of the proposed school budget for 2012-2013, which is now posted on the district's web site.
The committee has scheduled a public hearing on the budget for March 14, in the high school auditorium.
According to a Boston Globe survey of school athletic fees, Georgetown, Marblehead and Ipswich charge higher annual fees.
Some school districts, like Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District charge per sport. Football and hockey tend to charge higher fees because of the additional costs of those sports.