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School Committee to consider reducing student activity fees

Date: 8/9/2011

Aug. 10, 2011

By Katelyn Gendron

Assistant Managing Editor

AGAWAM — The School Committee will consider a proposal from its policy subcommittee to reduce the newly instituted student activity fees at its Aug. 16 meeting.

As it stands currently, students must pay for participation in all district sports and clubs beginning in the fall semester. The policy subcommittee is proposing that the fee be waived for all merit-based or graded clubs and activities such as the National Honor Society or marching band.

“I didn’t vote [in favor] of the budget so I didn’t vote for the fees,” School Committee member Shelley Reed, a member of the policy subcommittee, said, adding that reduced fees are better than the current figures.

Student-athletes will pay $100 per sport with a cap of $300 for those who play numerous sports or families with multiple student-athletes and most club fees total $25, Reed noted.

“It’s hard to determine what we’ll get [in total] from those fees. If you institute fees, it might knock people out [of participation]. I don’t think they’re worth the amount of money we’ll get from it,” she said.

School Committee member Kathleen Mouneimneh agreed with Reed’s opinion that merit-based or graded activities should not have a fee, however, she has no objection to charging for parking at the high school or for athletic fees.

“I believe it can help,” she said of the revenue. “With athletic fees, the athletic budget is so large that it will help with transportation, uniforms and coaches’ salaries.”

Mouneimneh noted she does not oppose parking fees because driving to school is a privilege, not a right, when students can just as easily ride the bus to school.

“We don’t want fees but we still need to have them [to subsidize the budget],” Mayor Richard Cohen, chair of the School Committee, said.

The School Committee will meet on Aug. 16 at 4:30 p.m. to discuss the policy subcommittee’s proposal as well as any other business that comes before the group.


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