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Oak Harbor school district cutting student athletic fees next year
Oak Harbor School Board approved a new fee schedule Monday for the 2014-15 school year.
Many of the fees were decreased or altogether eliminated.
One of the biggest changes is the reduced athletic and parking fees.
Athletic fees at the middle school are currently $75 for the first sport, $50 for a second sport and $25 for the third.
Starting next school year, the fees are $25 for the first, second and third sport.
At the high school, the fees for this year are $100 for the first sport, $75 for the second and $50 for the third. Next year, the fees will be $80 for the first, $55 for the second and no fee for the third.
“This is just bringing our fees back down to the level they were prior to our fiscal challenges over the last few years,” said schools Superintendent Lance Gibbon.
As a result of budget cuts, fees steadily increased over the past six years, according to Gibbon.
He credits the recently approved levy as the reason why student athletic fees can go back down.
Gibbon said the number of opportunities for middle school students has doubled, and participation in athletics has also increased.
It’s expected to increase more next year with the lower fees.
“I think it’s fantastic that we’re dropping things and making it more affordable,” said school board member Corey Johnson.
In addition to reduced athletic fees, parking will cost students less at the high school next year.
This year, underclassmen paid $45 for an annual parking pass and seniors paid $55. Next year, those fees will be $30 and $35, respectively.
Many other minor decreases occurred, but 12 fees were eliminated altogether at the middle and high schools.
It would cost the district more to collect and manage the fees that were eliminated than it does to eliminate those fees, Gibbon said.
A small number of fees were increased by the school board. CPR certification fee increased by $5, and the ServSafe Certification for the culinary arts program increased by $1. Also, lunch fees will increase by 10 cents.
“Some of that has to do with the new nutrition guidelines,” Gibbon said. “We are trying to have some more fresh foods and whole grains.
“We want to be able to provide nutritious and tasty meals for our kids.”
Because the district is providing more fresh food and whole grains in student meals, food costs went up for the district.
However, Gibbon told the school board he doesn’t believe these fees were increased during the previous three years.
The school board approved the fee schedule unanimously among those who were present.
Board members Gary Wallin and Reilly Richards were excused and left earlier in the evening.