The Avon Lake Board of Education, looking to improve its revenue stream, will be increasing pay to participate for the 2014 fiscal year by 50 percent. The board also approved a measure to initiate vocal and instrumental co-curricular fees.
The new rates for pay-to-participate extracurricular activities, including sports, are $300 for the first student at the high school with a $400 family cap and $150 at the middle school, with a $200 family cap. The board had considered, and rejected, a 100 percent increase.
Currently, the fees are $200 at the high school ($350 cap) and $100 at the middle school ($150 cap). It will generate $59,000 in additional revenue the first year.
Fees have been charged in Avon Lake since back-to-back levy failures in 2005.
New: Fees for vocal and instrumental programs
The district is also implementing vocal and instrumental program “co-curricular” fees. Currently there is no charge. Co-curricular activities are those taught during the day but have performance requirements outside the school day, such as choir, band and marching band.
Students participating in those music programs will be assessed a $40 fee per high school student and $20 per middle school student. There will be no family cap for co-curricular programs.
Superintendent of Schools Bob Scott said they will revisit the policy in the spring of 2015. He reiterated comments made at last week’s board meeting that he felt extra and co-curricular activities were integral to students’ learning experiences.
“We should not have kids who don’t participate because they can’t afford it,” he said.
The district will work with parents on the reduced cost lunch program.
Scholarship money is also available. An individual recently donated $2,500 for a scholarship fund.
One parent in attendance questioned sports financing.
“Does the community really need two trainers? Things like that?” one person asked.
Scott said the second trainer is not costing the district any more. Not having any trainer on staff could cost the district in liability and lawsuits, he added.
Questions were also raised if all sport would be treated equally, since some sports cost more than others.
Scott noted that while football is the most expensive to maintain, it also generates enough revenue to fund the district’s sports programs.