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Plum school board resurrects activity fees

| Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Plum School Board plans to restructure a proposed activity fee that was expected to glean the district about $92,000.

The proposed policy that was tabled during last week's meeting would have charged each high school student $100 and each junior high student $50 to participate in any extracurricular activities.

The proposal called for a $10 fee for students who receive reduced priced lunches. No fee was going to be charged to students who receive free lunches.

“I prefer to see something along the lines of a prorated policy,” said board member Shane McMasters.

“Activities that don't cost as much don't require the same amount (of money) from students across the board.”

“I think the (proposed) fees are too high,” said board member Kevin Dowdell. “It's not fair for students who participate in one activity like powder puff football.”

Dowdell said according to the proposed structure, students who participate in activities such as band, orchestra and chorus also would pay the fee.

Dowdell doesn't agree with those activities being subject to a fee.

“Those are programs,” Dowdell said.

The district about six years ago charged junior and senior high students $50 activity fees, Dowdell said. The initiative was stopped when the district had difficulty collecting the fees.

Dowdell said he paid the fee for his children.

“As a parent, I felt it was my responsibility to support my children so they could participate in activities,” Dowdell said. “It's important to have activities. It's the personality of the district. Students make friends by participating in activities.”

Board member Joe Tommarello last year opposed an activity fee but is willing to reconsider his position because of financial considerations.

“This year it's much worse,” Tommarello said.

Board members are expected to discuss activity fee proposals during a policy committee meeting on Aug. 6.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400 ext. 8753 or kzapf@tribweb.com.

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