School board to review student fee schedule

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By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

A reduction to the student fee schedule could be coming to the South-Western City Schools District.

At its regular meeting on Sept. 14, the board of education is slated to discuss a recommendation from the district administration to slash consumable and athletic fees for the 2020/21 school year.

According to Superintendent Dr. Bill Wise, the recommendation will call for those fees to be reduced by 50 percent due to changes to in-person instruction and the loss of some competitive opportunities.

“We just aren’t putting as many buses on the roads and kids may not have as many opportunities to participate, so some of those expenses have gone away,” he told the board during its Aug. 24 meeting.

He added that with the students not having a physical presence in the building, it did not make sense to charge them full price for the annual consumable fee.

“Some of the material costs for those consumable items just aren’t there at the same level,” Wise said.

Under the recommendation, the consumable fee will be reduced to $10 rather than $20, participants in high school band will pay $50 rather than $100 and high school student-athletes will be charged $75 to participate instead of the annual fee of $150.

While some members of the board did not express an opinion as to whether they would be in favor or against the recommendation, members David Donofrio and Robert Ragland stated that they would not be opposed to making the temporary changes.

“I completely agree with Dr. Wise,” said Donofrio. “I think it makes a lot of sense.”

“It sounds good to me,” said Ragland.

The pay-to-participate fees for student-athletes and those involved in clubs were implemented in 2009 with the passage of Issue 47, a 7.4-mill continuous operating levy that restored high school busing, athletics and extracurricular activities, among others.

When the board renewed the fee schedule in March, several residents spoke out against the pricing, stating that it was too expensive for families in the district with multiple children involved in multiple sports and clubs.

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