November 27, 2014

Board adopts fee increases

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com
USD 231 board members increased a handful of school fees during an April 15 meeting. The fee increases will be implemented during the 2013-2014 school year.
The cost of lunches and breakfasts will increase at the elementary schools and high school. Board members agreed to raise breakfast costs by 5 cents and lunch costs by as much as 10 cents. With the change, an elementary school breakfast will cost $1.30 and a high school breakfast will cost $1.40. Lunches for elementary students will be $2.10 apiece and $2.35 for high school students.
Mary Herbert, board member, said the meal increases were necessary to meet guidelines established by the federal school lunch program.
“It’s very depressingly approved,” she said as the board approved meal increases.
The group also unanimously agreed to raise the user fees for 2D and 3D art classes at the high school.
Christy Ziegler, executive director of educational services, said high school art fees have remained stable at $15 per semester since 2002 despite costs rising. For example, 12 colored pencils cost $4.60 in 2004, but $8.49 in 2012.
She noted that for the last two years, expenses have exceeded revenues for art classes.
This year, the art class semester fee was collected for 872 students, which produced $7,474 in revenue. To date, the art department expenditures are $9,134.
With the support of the district’s finance committee, she recommended that the board increase the semester fee to $20. The board approved the fee change.
Board members also agreed to raise the pay-to-ride transportation fee. The state provides funding for bus riders who must travel more than 2.5 miles to school. However, those who live within 2.5 miles of their school must pay to ride the school bus. This year, riders paid an annual fee of $260, but the board raised the price to $280 for the 2013-2014 school year.
According to the director’s report from Jeremy McFadden, school finance director, the district will spend $1.1 million in bus costs this year, or $259,000 more than the district will collect in state aid and pay-to-ride fees.
The new cost, $280 annually, is equal to or less than what patrons pay in neighboring districts. For example, Blue Valley School District charges an annual fee of $370; Spring Hill School District charges and annual fee of $320; and Olathe currently charges $280.
In other business, board members:
• approved $192,597 purchase for new math textbooks.
• approved an agreement for video management equipment and upgrades.
• approved changes to policy section 1000. The district does not publish policy proposals prior to approving them. Policy section 100 deals with the board of education, but that is all the information that was released prior to press time.
The next board meeting will be at 6 p.m. on May 6 at the school district administration building.

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