Monticello contemplating school fee hikes

Monticello contemplating school fee hikes

MONTICELLO — The school board is considering increases in several fees this fall — plus a change in how fees are charged at the high school.

If approved, the proposal would include:

— Implementation of a $100 fee for the Small Wonders preschool program.

— A higher registration fee for high school but elimination of most class fees.

— An increase in admission prices to athletic events — by $1 per person.

— A 10-cent increase in milk prices, which would bring the per-carton cost to 40 cents.

— An increase in the cost of high school meals for reduced lunch recipients.

Superintendent Vic Zimmerman told school board members the changes would increase revenue by an estimated $31,000 per year.

The district has been footing the entire cost of the preschool program since budget cuts eliminated the annual $90,000 in state funding three years ago.

"If we charge a $100 fee (annually), do we feel that's going to discourage anyone?" asked school board member Chris Carr.

Zimmerman said the fee is still well under the average $225 per month that other area preschools charge, and pointed out that low-income students could be eligible for a fee waiver.

As for event fees, the superintendent said they haven't been raised in at least 10 years. He recommended students begin paying $1 and adults $4.

"I'm not aware of any other schools that don't charge for students," Zimmerman said.

Currently, Monticello students do not pay for admittance, but students from other schools are charged.

"My concern is students showing up without money, turning around and going home," said board member Wendy Norvell.

Zimmerman said if the district opts to continue not charging Monticello students, he'd recommend students from other schools also not be charged.

High school fees could actually drop under this proposal. Even though registration fees would jump from $100 to $160, the district would eliminate class fees, which run $20 for many courses.

Zimmerman said the average high school parent shells out $200 per year in fees, so that the new structure would represent a decrease for a majority of students.

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