School district seeking activity fee increase
Activity fees at Duluth public schools are expected to increase this year. The Duluth School Board will vote next week on raising fees for most activities by $10, with a $50 increase for hockey and a $150 increase for the maximum fee paid for fam...
Activity fees at Duluth public schools are expected to increase this year.
The Duluth School Board will vote next week on raising fees for most activities by $10, with a $50 increase for hockey and a $150 increase for the maximum fee paid for families.
The increases account for about 10 percent of the $200,000 in cuts made to the activities budget this year.
"We've had to make cuts in many, many areas within the budget and we tried to make them as minimally painful as possible," board member Tom Kasper said. "If each family can share a bit, then it's better for all of our kids that are in these programs."
Students who eat free lunch will continue to pay nothing for activities, and students who eat reduced-price lunch will continue to pay $25.
Hockey fees are higher than other sports and activities because of the cost of ice time and other expenses, Assistant Superintendent Bill Gronseth said.
"Hockey is the most costly sport we have," he said. "We wanted to share more of the cost with parents."
Chad Thompson has three boys who will play hockey at Denfeld this winter: junior twins Alex and Zach and ninth-grader Nick Thompson. He said his family paid a family maximum of $900 last winter and expects the fee to be $1,000 this year. When Alex and Zach played bantam hockey two years ago, the family paid $2,500 in fees.
"It was bantam and peewee hockey that got so expensive," Chad Thompson said. "We had to pay an up-front fee of $1,000 each for Alex and Zach. There was no max and ice assessments were $200 per month. We've found out that as our boys have gotten into high school it has become cheaper."
The four fee categories are determined by the amount of money paid to coaches and advisers, the number of games or contests held during a season, lease and rental costs, transportation, and money paid to officials and judges. The last time fees were raised was 2009. Other cuts to that budget include some assistant coaches and in-town transportation to games and other events.
literacy scores beat average
The board, meeting as the education committee Tuesday, received results of Head Start literacy scores, which are higher than the state Reading Corps average in each category.
Categories include rhyming, alliteration, picture naming,
letter naming and sound fluency. Minnesota Reading Corps is an AmeriCorps program that aims to help students become successful readers by the third grade, and each Duluth Head Start class has a full-time member helping.
The Duluth students, who are 4 years old, also showed large jumps in scores from fall to spring and little disparity between white and non-white students.
"We're thrilled," Head Start director Pam Rees said. "When I saw these I got goose bumps because I thought, 'This is what the district is working on.' "
She said a high degree of parent involvement and a rich literacy curriculum that the staff is well-trained in contributed to the scores.
Jon Nowacki of the News Tribune contributed to this report.