The Examiner U-46 News Feed
U-46 approves fees for 2016-17 school year
By Seth Hancock
Instructional fees will remain the same for the 2016-17 school year in School District U-46 as the Board of Education unanimously approved the fee structure at its meeting on Monday, Feb. 8.
Jeff King, chief Operations officer, said there are “no significant other changes” than in the gifted program at the district’s eight middle schools. Next year the gifted program will be available at all middle schools as compared to the five where it’s currently offered.
Some students in the program this year are attending schools that are not their home school and originally they were going to have to move back to their home school next year according to King, but the administration has decided to allow current gifted seventh-graders to remain at their current school even if it’s not their home school.
“We will be asking those parents to pay the traditional $150 gifted fee,” King said.
The regular instructional materials fee at the middle school level is $162, and $312 for the gifted program if attending a non-home school. King said it costs $600 “per student to transport them out of their attendance area,” and by the 2017-18 school year all gifted students will be at their home school.
For all in instructional fees from first through 12th grade, there is a $20 discount for early payment, before May 25, and a $20 penalty for late payment, after Aug. 26. The regular fee for first through sixth grade is $116 and $266 for the Ignite Program, and at the high school level it’s $240 or $390 for the academies.
Half-day kindergarten fee is $48 or $58 if late, and full-day is $96 or $116 if paid late.
Board member Phil Costello asked if the “fees cover the related costs of the related items” which King said “not even close.”
Costello followed up: “What is the percentage, and more importantly what is the objective of covering the percentage? Is it just in some way defraying the costs from the district, or what’s your objective of doing it this way?”
King said: “All of the fees, in essence, go back to the school as their discretionary funds. So we give the schools back about $2.4 million in total, we collect a little over $2 million a year. So the way we’ve been treating this is trying to get all of those funds, anything
Costello said “I assumed that it was not even close to covering the actual cost of providing these goods and materials” and King interjected that it “doesn’t even cover our replacement textbook costs.”
Board member Jeanette Ward said: “I remember awhile ago, I used to pay the registration fee directly to my children’s school and a few years ago, maybe two or three, it changed from paying the school directly to paying the district. So, did the district do that because it saves cost?”
King said that it gets “the cash out of the school sites” which saves funds on hiring a service to pick up the funds. He said the district has encouraged online payment which resulted in over 60 percent of payments made online last year.
Some of the fees for non-mandatory programs include for preschool at $120 a month for two-day a week program, $180 for the three-day and $300 for the five-day. Moving On is $140, Center House is $105 and SWEP is $50.
Athletic participation fee is $80 at middle school and $150 at high school, $200 for football. At the high school level, driver’s education is $325 total for behind-the-wheel and textbook, a student parking permit is $100, activity fee is $40 and basic yearbook is $45.
Board member Sue Kerr asked about the driver’s education fee and if it covers the total cost. King said it costs “closer to $400, $500 a student” the last time he looked, and Sanders said the state caps that fee at $50 but U-46 has a waiver.
There’s student insurance offered at all levels which is still to be determined. U-46 CEO Tony Sanders said “it’s not required” and King said “we’re going to have a discussion about eliminating it” with under 10 students taking the insurance this year.