I think there are some major differences here. This is a class, not an extra-curricular activity. When students sign on for a competitive sport, not every student attends because they must qualify in order to attend. In marching band, all members will participate. Where a state level athletic event is selective, the marching band event is all-inclusive with no winners or losers (festival format). If the students were to pay for their meals at state marching band, and the band pays their registration… there is no other cost to that trip. The travel is reimbursed by the state, so it costs the school nothing. It is also interesting to note that I do not believe that any athletic team pays to participate in a state event. There is no “registration fee” for teams that attend state or regional basketball. Music however, has a cost each time we gather at clinic, festival, and state marching band. It seems like you are getting hit twice here.