Mt. Lebanon School District to charge for sports, extracurriculars
By Matthew Santoni
Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
The Mt. Lebanon School Board passed an $83.16 million budget on Monday night, instituting fees ranging from $5 to $40 per year for students participating in sports and extracurricular activities.
Mt. Lebanon joins its neighbors in Bethel Park and Upper St. Clair in charging such fees as a way for districts to help balance their budgets. At least six other school districts in the region charge some form of activity fees, ranging from a flat fee to a sliding scale of charges depending on the cost to the district of operating the sport or activity.
Under Mt. Lebanon's fee schedule, students will pay $40 if they participate in high school sports, $20 for middle school sports, $40 for band activities and $5 for intramural sports, board President Elaine Cappucci said. Clubs such as the Model U.N. or forensics teams are not affected, she said.
Board member Mary Birks asked the board to consider establishing an “angel fund” for families who might not be able to afford the fees and to set a cap on how much a family might pay for having particularly active kids.
“We have some large families with lots of kids who participate in a lot of things, so I want to make sure we address that,” she said.
The final 2013-14 budget, passed by a 6-3 vote with board members Scott Goldman, Dale Ostergaard and Dan Remely opposed, lowers the tax rate to 22.61 mills even as court-mandated property reassessments that took effect this year raised the district's total tax revenue by about 1.9 percent.
Whether the new rate — $2,261 in taxes for every $100,000 a property is worth — raises or lowers an individual property owner's bill will depend on how that owner fared in the reassessment. Properties whose assessments went up more than the average of about 22 percent for Mt. Lebanon will be hit with a tax increase; those whose assessments went up by less than the average will get a decrease or stay about the same.
The activity fees, which are expected to raise about $50,000, were among $715,405 in cuts and new revenues included to balance the budget without dipping into the district's cash reserves. The budget reduces school staffing, travel expenses, consultant fees and teacher allowance at Office Depot for school supplies.
With many property owners awaiting rulings on appeals of their reassessments, Finance Director Janice Klein said last week that she based the tax change on her estimates of what Mt. Lebanon's tax base will be when all the appeals have been decided. Allegheny County officials estimated that all the real estate in Mt. Lebanon was worth about $2.7 billion after the reassessment, but Klein's budget was based on appeals reducing that to about $2.6 billion.
Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or email@example.com.
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.
- North Side market’s ‘good run’ comes to end
- Smaller transit service funds intact under new Pa. transportation plan
- Drug company buys Duquesne prof’s cancer research
- Pittsburgh Poison Center warns of krokodil
- Sandy Hook 911 calls fuel sensitivity debate
- Newsmaker: Kacey Marra
- Allegheny County District Attorney’s budget bump to fund employee pay raises
- Pittsburgh Foundation’s Wishbook features 48 nonprofits
- Energy drinks, alcohol don’t mix, study finds
- Afghanistan troubles remain, diplomat says
- Feds to oversee PHEAA, other student loan contractors