FR officials to consider increasing activity fee
Franklin Regional parents might pay more than $50 for their children to participate in school activities next year.
School board members said they plan to consider increasing the activity fee for next school year. Board member Joe Seymour, who suggested the change, said he would like the district to use a structure similar to the Pine-Richland and North Allegheny school districts.
"As I look at extracurriculars and athletics, they're great and I want to continue to have a broad program," Seymour said. "I think it's great that the taxpayers of Murrysville want to pay for my child to play lacrosse - but can I ask them to pay for piano lessons too? Where do we draw the line?"
"There's no way the taxpayers of Murrysville should be underwriting my child's extracurriculars," Seymour added. "It's not unreasonable to ask families to do what they can. And this is one area in which we can."
This is the first year of an activity fee at Franklin Regional. Students in grades seven through 12 are charged $50 to participate in unlimited sports and clubs. Those who qualify for the free-and-reduced-lunch program are offered a fee waiver. The fee generated about $75,000 this school year.
However, the collection isn't consistent in clubs, said Superintendent Emery D'Arcangelo. With so many students participating in clubs at the middle school and high school, it's difficult to determine which students haven't paid the fee. In other cases, families pay the fee at the start of the school year, but the student doesn't participate in any activities, said board member Kim Bondi. That happened with one of her three children who attend the high school.
"We need to make sure we can manage any changes," D'Arcangelo said.
At Pine-Richland, students in grades seven through 12 are charged $80 at the beginning of the school year to participate in unlimited activities. The fee applies to all activities, athletics and clubs that take place after school - those that take place during the school day are exempt from the fee.
At North Allegheny, students pay different fees for various activities. Athletes pay $75 per sport per season, with a family cap of $225. Marching band participants pay $50, with a family cap of $150. Students who participate in intramural sports, club sports, ensembles, competition groups and other clubs pay $25 per student per activity, with a family cap of $75. No family pays more than $450 in activity fees.
Board member Roberta Cook said she worries increasing the fee would price some families and students out of participating in activities.
"Joe, no offense, but you can afford (a fee increase)," Cook said. "We don't want to say ‘you're not rich enough to participate' to any of our students."
D'Arcangelo said the administration - including supervisor of athletics Zach Kessler - does not support having different fees for different activities. He cited problems that Hempfield Area School District had implementing a similar fee structure.
Board Vice President Paul Scheinert said he would support a fee structure if it meant that some booster fees would be reduced.
"If we up the ante even further, some students are going to get hit harder," Scheinert said. "I kind of like the idea, if they're paying a fair amount and the booster organizations keep that in mind."
Board member Jane Tower said she supports having a family cap on any increased fee and asked Seymour how he would suggest proceeding with the changes. Seymour didn't have an answer.
"In our family, you're not allowed to criticize anything unless you are a part of the solution and I just broke that rule," Seymour said. "I know enough to lob a grenade and we can go from there."
The issue will be discussed by the policy committee today, Thursday, during its 1 p.m. meeting at the administration building. The committee will craft a proposed change to the policy, which will be discussed at the May 7 school board meeting. Any policy change must be considered for two months before the board takes a final vote to enact it.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Route 22 closed in Delmont after tractor-trailer crash at cloverleaf
- Vandergrift man accused of sexual assault
- Starkey: Cervelli’s inspiration
- More witness intimidation charges are filed against Plum teacher
- Downie, Ehrhoff lead list of likely Penguins leaving in free agency
- Supreme Court justices ream EPA for ignoring costs to meet air standards
- Pirates hope 1st baseman Alvarez starts to regain power stroke
- St. Vincent professor, students use interviews for drug addiction data
- 80 percent of drivers found exceeding speed limit in Mt. Lebanon, Bethel Park
- Wet weather puts Three Rivers Regatta events in jeopardy
- Murrysville native Bullock vying for health magazine’s ‘Next Fitness Star’