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Dist. U-46 Board reviews fee waiver proposal

By Seth Hancock
  School District U-46 is proposing to waive school fees, except for optional fees, for the 2021-2022 school year.
  The Board of Education was presented with the proposal at its Monday, Feb. 8 meeting held electronically due to COVID-19 restrictions. The board will vote on it at its Feb. 22 meeting.
  “For this year, we are really looking at trying to help our families by waiving the instructional fees for this school year,” said Superintendent Tony Sanders.
  Jeff King, deputy superintendent of operations, said the proposal will lead to a loss of between $2.3 million and $2.5 million in revenue. King said reserves would cover the loss when asked by Sue Kerr, the board’s president.
  This school year, the instructional fees ranged between $48 and $291 depending on grade level, when the fee was paid or the program.
  The waiver of fees include all elementary grade levels including the Ignite Program as well as middle and high school levels. Central programs including Moving On, SWEP and Center House would also be waived.
  Optional fees would remain with one increasing, that being the high school lifeguard course fee which would increase from $34 to $45.75.
  “Some of the materials went up, so that fee went up slightly,” King said.
  Athletic fees per sport would be $80 for middle school and $150 for high school ($200 for football). Other optional fees include driver’s education ($250 behind-the-wheel/$13 textbook), independence PE course ($15), parking permit ($100), activity ($40) and basic yearbook ($45).
  “I think this provides some welcomed relief for the families of our students,” said board member Melissa Owens. “The one group that is not getting relief is the families that have seniors right now. They’re not going to benefit for the waiving of fees next year.”
  “Unfortunately, we have not come up with a solution for that yet,” Sanders said.

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