The YME School Board approved a motion on Monday night to charge students participation fees for both athletic and non athletic extracurricular activities.
Increasing fees and charging fees for both athletic and non-athletic activities has been discussed by YME school boards for several years. Previous boards have seldom raised athletic fees and never adopted fees for non-athletic activities.
Athletic and Activities director Tim Knapper told the board, “We all agree that we want students to be involved. The reality is that there are expenses and only limited ways to bring in revenue.” Knapper has been gathering data on the fees charged by other districts in the conference and shared with the board that YME is one of only a few schools in the area that does not charge fees for non-athletic activities. “The numbers we're proposing are not on the top of the conference or the bottom; we’ll be in the middle.”
Board member Shelly Weir reacted to the new non-activity fee schedule saying, “I think $40 is outrageous. 0 to $40 is a big jump.”
Questions were also asked about why there are two levels of fees, one for jr. high and one for sr. high and how the non-athletic activities were selected. Knapper said the difference in the levels is due to high school activities having longer seasons and incurring more costs than jr. high. Board member Tim Opdahl explained the rationale behind the selection of activities. “These are elective activities and cost the district money and should be included in the fee schedule.”
Non-athletic activities that will be charged a participation fee include: math league, fall play, jr. high play, one act play, musical, knowledge bowl, speech, mock trial, robotics, Lego league, FFA competition and marching band.
Beginning with the 2012-2013 school year the fees for 9-12 athletics will be $80; the fee for 7-8 athletics will be $60; the fee for 9-12 non-athletic fees will be $40 and the fee for 7-8 non-athletics will be $25. There is a family cap of $350 for fees. In addition adult activity passes will increase to $75 and student activity passes will be $25.
Students who receive free and reduced lunch qualify for reduced participation fees. If a family qualifies for reduced lunch the participation fee is 50 percent of the regular fees. If a family qualifies for free lunch the participation fee is 20 percent of the regular fees. In the past, families that qualified for free and reduced lunch have not paid fees. Superintendent Al Stoeckman explained the rationale for now charging fees, “With the fees in place it is believed that the students will make a commitment to the activity and stick with it.”
Knapper indicated to the board that there are other safety nets in place to help families pay participation fees. Athletic director office assistant Jean Feldman said, “We have never turned anyone away.”
Page 2 of 2 - It is anticipated that between $12,000 and $17,000 in revenue will be raised through the participation fees.