SCHOOL BOARD Liberty enforces activity payments

Residents complained about the board's levy campaign.
LIBERTY -- Pay to participate is in effect in the Liberty school district.
Those pupils planning on participating in fall sports activities must have their money handed in to the school district by Aug. 20. Those whose bills are not paid by then will not be allowed to participate until the bill is paid.
There are caps put on the amount a single family will have to pay for pupils to participate in co-curricular programs, such as drama and band, and athletic programs. These caps will protect parents of more than two pupils who are active in numerous school activities from paying higher dues.
The maximum amount a single family will have to pay for a year of co-curricular activities, such as band and language clubs, is $255 per pupil. Athletic dues will be considerably higher at a minimum of $125 for middle school pupils and $250 for high school students for each program.
The board of education does not plan on canceling any programs on the school calendar for this year but will have to prepare for the next school year's financial problems, said Superintendent Larry Prince.
In April, Prince said the district "will not collect one nickel" from the pupils before the outcome of this month's special election on a 7.9-mill levy.
Emotions ran high Tuesday as residents complained about the way the board campaigned for the recent failed levy. Requests for more detailed reports of what passing the levy would do for the township were inadequate at best, the board's critics said.
The school board, unprepared for the bombardment of questions, and unwilling to speak without preparation, gave subjective reasons for why the township needed the levy.
Instead of giving examples of academic, creative, and extracurricular achievements made in the Liberty school district, board members -- specifically board members Richard Malone and Robert Lackey -- focused on the "campus-like setting" and the new buildings, and did not dwell on Liberty's academic statistics.
When the board was pressed for accountability, Malone struck his gavel and shouted for order. This is not the first time an emotional outbreak has occurred at a board meeting when the topic came around to the levy.

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