Friday, May 16, 2003
CSC discusses 2003-04 fees We dislike them, but we need them
School Business Manager Steve Moore presented his recommendations for school fees for the FY2003-2004 school year to the Carlisle School Committee (CSC) on May 6. The fees will be set next month, after discussions with the school committee and superintendent. Moore feels that fees for full-day kindergarten, athletics, and seventh- and eighth-grade bus transportation are equitable considering costs of the programs and bus contract.
Already the CSC is agonizing over the "per-family fee limits" or "caps." The families of the seventh- and eighth-graders are the ones who get hit hardest by the sports and transportation costs, as do families who have a seventh- or eighth-grader and a kindergarten student. Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson said, "The budget is really lean but there is a cost. Our only option is to offer the program or not. The fees make it possible." CSC chair Suzanne Whitney Smith agreed, "The budget is not in the spirit of public education but it is what we have to do." CSC member Michael Fitzgerald said, "I am appalled that kids need to pay fees to use the bus for school, but the logic we are using is consistent and fair."
Moore's recommended fee for transportation is $385 for the seventh- and eighth-graders. These revenues are needed to cover the shortfall, as well as the higher cost for buses next year. The 2003-2004 bus contract is $344,160 for the 847 Carlisle students, with a per-student cost of $406. However, after adding the extra kindergarten run and other bus uses, the true bus cost is $365,220. The actual transportation line in the school budget to the town is $314,190. The shortfall of $51,030 must be covered by fees paid by the anticipated 75% of the next years' seventh- and eighth-graders who are expected to use the bus. The 2002-2003 transportation fee was $365.
The athletic task force recommended a fee of $175 per participant per sport with a family maximum cap of $550. Athletic fees have not been increased since they were instituted in the 1990s, and should cover the expenses of running the programs. Fees for 2002-2003 were $130, with the spring sports costing more.
Pre-K and full-day-K fees
Director of Special Support Services Dr. Linda Stapp recommends a pre-kindergarten tuition charge of $375 per month. (The fee for 2002-2003 was $325.) This charge is determined by market pricing.
The recommendation for the kindergarten fee is $500. This covers only the salaries associated with the full-day kindergarten program. For an estimated 75 potential students, the salary cost per student is $498. (The fee for 2002-2003 was $350.)
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