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Board Opposes Hiking Sports Fees

The Weston Board of Education decided unanimously Monday to urge its Policy Committee not to consider changes in participation fees for athletic and other extracurricular programs. Instead, the board suggested future discussions should focus on board-funded field trips.

The Policy Committee has considered increasing the fee to play a sport and the cost of tickets for certain athletic events. It has also considered enacting a participation fee for middle and high school stage productions, increasing the parking fee for high school students and allowing students to personalize their parking space for a fee by choosing from four or five templates the school has selected.

Last budget season, it was calculated that raising the fee per sport at the high school from $75 to $100 and the maximum a family could pay in a year from $300 to $400 would bring in about $19,450. Increasing the fee by $25 per sport at the middle school would collect $10,000. Charging a $50 fee for the Weston High School drama program each semester would raise an additional $4,000 and $2,500 more from the 120 Weston Intermediate School students involved in extracurricular music activities.

Board member Dana Levin said she felt the group chose to push the discussion aside before because there was no logical flow to which groups were getting charged what and little consistency between buildings.

Vice Chair Ellen Uzenoff said she sees a problem in asking parents to pay both sports and activities fees and field trip fees and said that they may be considered a "part of basic educational thought" and not "extracurricular" activities. She suggested field trips should be a part of the educational operating budget and not paid for by students.

Board member Les Wolf urged the board not to spend more time discussing an issue that represented only a fraction of a percent of the operating budget. If a decision cannot be made in the next month, he urged the matter be dropped.

Board Secretary and Treasurer Richard Bochinski told the Policy Committee the parking and athletic fees are "fine" at their current level and suggested the family cap not be raised.

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