By Sue Moore
Athletic participation fees of $100 for each student in Schoolcraft were rescinded for all those high school students signed up for sports in the 2013/14 school year by the board of trustees at their November meeting. This would be retroactive to the first of the year, since many students had already paid their fees, according to Superintendent Rusty Stitt.
“These fees were needed to [balance the budget] the last few years, but we have better times now,” board member Mike Rochholz said in his support of doing away with the charges. “This is a chance to help our families, our staff, and still have enough money to put into the education of our students,” he added.
“We have struggled with this decision a long time,” board member Kathy Mastenbrook said. “It doesn’t feel good to eliminate [entirely] but it would be OK to reduce the fee to help out a bit more.” She was concerned about how the money would be given back. Stitt answered, “It would be a process, certainly not as clean as we would like. It could be credited to a student’s lunch money account or ultimately they could receive a check, but that would require the student to be listed as a vendor for accounting purposes. Another option is if a family just wants to make a donation to the school,” he said.
Skip Fox, long-time board member, said, “I didn’t like the fee from the get-go. We need to do what’s right for the kids and this time it’s what’s good for the families.” Matt DeVoe also was in favor of the give-back to the community as an opportunity but said the policy should be evaluated every year. David Krum, another long-time board member, suggested cutting the fee in half to $50, but the motion was made to eliminate the fee completely and he and the rest of the board agreed, with one no vote cast by Mastenbrook.