Board raises activity fees

Mille Lacs County Times

After a lengthy discussion about a policy change concerning the district’s facility use contracts, the Milaca School Board voted on several items at its last regular meeting Tuesday, March 20.

Board member Mark Herzing wanted the policy change language to reflect an option for third party individuals or organizations to contract through Community Education to use district buildings. The motion failed, and the policy change passed, but only to be sent back to the policy committee for further discussion.

In other business:

The board was presented with a proposal to increase activity fees and admission to school events. Westphal explained that a new law concerning concussions in football players has forced the district to replace 70 percent of its helmets, including all of its junior high helmets. Because of this change, a $10 surcharge will be required of football players next year.

Nelson told the board that changes to the electricity rates may increase the district’s cost to light the football field from $1,300 to $7,000.

These changes, along with the district’s need to raise revenues, prompted the increase in activities fees and admission. But board member Todd Quaintance said he wanted the junior high activity fees to remain at their current levels as to not discourage younger students from participating in sports and fine arts programs. A vote was taken and the fees for the junior high level activities will remain the same, with Jody Chambers and Aimee Struffert voting against and Quaintance, Herzing, Judy Pearson and Jeff Larson voting in favor of the measure.

The activities fees are charged on a sliding income scale. Students receiving free and reduced lunches can participate in school activities at a reduced rate. The fees are set at $45, $55, and $64 at the junior high level. At the high school level, the board voted to increase the fees from their current rates of $55, $65 and $75 to $60, $70 and $80, with football players paying an extra $10 at each rate. Fine arts activity fees were also increased from $75 to $80.

The board also voted to increase the admission to events. Currently, parents of students involved in the activities were admitted free of charge to various events. Next year, parents will pay the same rate as an adult admission, which is $6. Senior citizens were also previously admitted free of charge, but will pay the student rate of $3 starting in the fall.

Starting in the fall of 2012 school year, students will also pay $50 for a parking permit in order to leave their vehicles in the school parking lot.

For the full story, see the Thursday, March 29 print edition of the Times.