Poland sets proposed fees for school sports, band

By Ashley Luthern



The Poland Board of Education will vote on pay-to-participate fees for athletics and marching band next week, after deciding on proposed fee amounts at its Monday work session.

The fees that will be voted on are $200 per high-school sport, $100 per middle-school sport and $75 per participant in marching band, all to begin in the 2012-13 school year.

The measure that the board will vote on does not include a cap per student or family and does not exempt students who are receiving free and reduced-cost lunches.

The sports fees would be used to subsidize the athletic budget and the marching band fee would cover about half of the cost of the band’s transportation, school board members said.

The board decided against putting a motion on next week’s agenda to create a fee for all other extracurricular activities.

Four of the five board members said they support a pay-to-participate fee for athletics and for marching band.

Board member Robert Shovlin said he would vote against fees.

“I’m not for any fees. But if the board voted for [an athletic fee], I would make sure that marching band was included,” he said.

Shovlin added he wants to explore having multiple groups, not just marching-band parents, running concession stands at home football games and also changing requirements so that participation in athletics could be used as a physical education credit.

The fee discussion covered part one and two of a three-part recovery plan briefly outlined Monday. The third part of the plan is not to replace two retiring elementary teachers.

“I don’t feel those three things are enough,” said board president Dr. Larry Dinopoulos.

Superintendent Robert Zorn said eliminating the two teaching positions is the first step of a larger five-year plan that will be sent to board members within 10 business days after a final check from school administrators.

“We are realigning staff by consolidating sections [of classes]. The financial report starts down a long-range road so the number of sections are lower each year,” Zorn said.

Dinopoulos said the board should act quickly, especially if it is considering asking voters to approve a levy in November.

“I appreciate long-term planning, but I feel it doesn’t show enough action on our part. I think we can speed things up and reduce staff. We can’t have teachers teaching 18 kids. We need to maximize it to 25 kids by eliminating [class sections] or look at open enrollment to fill those seats,” he said.

State law sets a maximum class size of 25 students per teacher. The long-term plan will be discussed at the board’s May 14 work session. The board will vote on the proposed participation fees Monday.

If the board decided to place a levy on the November ballot, it would have to take action by the end of July.

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