Feedback wanted on activity fees

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The Hayden School District wants to hear parents' opinions about an activity fee proposal before the Hayden School Board decides the issue Aug. 17.

A committee of parents, staff and administrators settled on a fee schedule that would establish a flat $10 fee for all students as well as athletic fees for students who participate in sports.

Hayden High School students would pay $50 for the first sport and $25 for the second sport. Hayden Middle School students would pay $30 for the first sport and $15 for the second sport. There would be no charge for the third sport.

The proposal stipulates that families would pay no more than $200 in activity fees, and students eligible for the free and reduced lunch program would qualify for waivers.

The district would rather not charge any activity fees, but it needs some way to compensate for the rising costs of insurance, uniforms, officials, equipment, lodging and other aspects of school-sponsored activities, superintendent Mike Luppes said.

The money the district makes from admissions to athletic events barely pays for officials, he said.

"I think the Hayden School District is taking the stance that activities are a critical part of education, and we want students to be involved," Luppes said. "We've held out as long as we can to make it easier for them to participate."

Hayden is the only school district in the area that does not charge activity fees.

In Moffat County, high school students pay $25 to participate in clubs and non-athletic activities and $40 for each sport, and middle school students pay $15 for each club or sport activity. Fees for individual families cannot exceed $200, payroll employee Tammi Whitaker said.

The Steamboat Springs School District charges students $100 for each school-sponsored sport, with a maximum of $200. Students participating in sports not sponsored by the district, such as golf, may be responsible for even more expenses, administrative office manager Karen Campbell said.

Last year, the Hayden School District spent 30 percent more than its $47,000 budget for sports and activity expenses. Much of that was from travel costs for several successful sports teams and clubs, Luppes said.

The district also saw the largest numbers of students participating in activities. At the high school, more than half the student body was involved in sports or cheerleading in the fall and winter.

That doesn't count students who participated in speech, band, Future Business Leaders of America and other activities. It's "up in the air" whether these kinds of activities should be included in the sports fee schedule, Luppes said.

The flat fee for students in kindergarten through 12th grade would help pay for field trips, assemblies and clubs. It also would cover students' admission to regular sporting and other events.

Based on 2004-05 student numbers and activities, Luppes estimated the proposed fees would amount to about $15,000 -- almost as much as the district overspent during the last school year.

Anybody with opinions or questions about Hayden's proposal should call Luppes at 276-3864 or e-mail mluppes@hayden.k12.co.us. Parents also can call School Board members.

-- To reach Tamera Manzanares, call 871-4204 or e-mail tmanzanares@steamboatpilot.com

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