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Kennywood school picnic fee benefits Quaker Valley activities

Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 8:12 p.m.
 

A school picnic at Kennywood, complete with Thunderbolt rides and Potato Patch fries also can help benefit after-school programs at Quaker Valley.

A $2 fee added to Quaker Valley school-picnic tickets purchased earlier this month in the district will help fund school programs in an ever-increasingly tight budget, a school spokeswoman said.

It's the third year Quaker Valley has added a fee to the discounted Kennywood tickets.

Last year's efforts reaped $856, spokeswoman Tina Vojtko said.

This year, Kennywood's school-picnic ticket price is $24 — it is $26 for Quaker Valley students,

A “FunDay” admission sold at the West Mifflin park's gate is $39.99.

“Last year the additional fee provided ... funding for after-school programming, including the middle school art and robotics program, the elementary Hard Work Clubs and primary grade book clubs,” Vojtko said.

School officials — not the park — decide to tack on the added fee, Kennywood spokesman Jeff Filicko said.

“If (the schools) ask us to do that, we will,” he said. “It's something we don't typically offer.”

At Quaker Valley, the added revenue helps keep programs continuing as school leaders tackle tightening budgets, Vojtko said.

“As public schools continue to experience stagnant or declining funding, many schools have reduced or eliminated after-school programming,” she said.

“These programs provide a vital role for our students. Therefore, we continue to explore alternative ways to fund these important programs.”

Out of 86 districts that attend the historic amusement park for school picnics, two add fees, Filicko said. At North Allegheny, the cost of a Kennywood school-picnic ticket is $27, with the added fee benefiting the school's Unified Boosters Organization, according to the district website.

A flier on North Allegheny's website says money collected from the fee is used for scholarship programs, elementary pep assemblies, the school's mascot costume and “various improvement projects within the district.”

School picnics at Kennywood date to the early 1900s, when one of the park's early managers, A.S. McSwigan, persuaded Pittsburgh politician Christopher Magee to bring children to the park, Filicko said.

Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

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