Debate Finances

For PBCFL tournaments, the league charges $8 per student entry, and when tournaments are in-person, host schools charge $7 per lunch (both student and adult). Many coaches charge students between $15-20 per PBCFL tournament, to not only cover student costs, but the adult judge costs. At in-person PBCFL tournaments, coaches are mandated to order meals for all their students and their judges/adult quota. (FYI, if a student is dropped from the tournament after the published deadline, there will be an additional $10 fee assessed.)

NOTE: the Palm Beach School District’s policies are clear that if coaches incorporate tournament participation as a debate class grade, “no penalty of any type will be imposed against a student based upon a failure to pay. No student shall be denied the right to participate for failure to pay. The principal may forego a planned activity or use of a particular item based upon the collection of insufficient funds to cover the cost of the item or activity. This monetary request is voluntary.” This does not mean the PBCFL or host schools waive financial obligations, such as registration fees, drop fees, or meals, to schools that compete.

Ways that some coaches have worked with this requirement include dubbing payment a “donation,” using fundraising by students to cover these costs, or offering alternative no-cost public speaking opportunities to students. Additionally, some coaches request a flat “cover all PBCFL tournaments” donation at the start of the year.

Dues can be charged to extracurricular competitive team students.

Other tournaments (non-PBCFL) may have additional costs associated with them due to tournament-imposed fees, hotel stays, transportation, meals, etc.

The School District of Palm Beach County has an online credit card option available called School Cash Online, which needs to be set up annually by your book keeper. It’s the same program used for school lunch payments and other school-related student expenses. It can be found here: