We can’t get around the fees

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We can’t get around the fees

Art by Heather Shelton

Art by Heather Shelton

Art by Heather Shelton

Art by Heather Shelton

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Art by Heather Shelton

Families already burdened by a weak economy and falling home prices are about to pay more in school fees—a move that pleases no one, but district administrators, faced with a third year of budget cuts, have few other options.

Last year, school board proposals to cut sports like bowling and golf, as well as clubs like the chess team, were met by strong opposition from the community—so if the board can’t cut and tax revenues don’t increase, there’s no way to get around the fee increase.

According to Leigh Jaffke, athletic director, sports fees will be $150 next year and will increase by $50 next year. Each subsequent year the board will determine whether a hike is necessary or not. The increase will give the school an estimated revenue of $85,000 if sports participation remains the same.

According to Jaffke, the hike also affected clubs, which went from $40 to $60, and additionally, parking passes went from $160 to $180.

For a family with two children in three sports each, the difference is a whopping $300.

The board made their decision based on sports enrollment and schools around us.

“We’re on the upper edge [compared to other schools] with our registration fees, but we were under the norm with our activity and athletic fees,” Cheryl Krauspe, school board president, said.

The school board had no other choices, but the hike is likely to affect Kaneland families district-wide. At a board meeting last year, many community members were outraged at the thought of letting the board cut sports and clubs altogether.

We realize some students might be discouraged from participating because of the hike, and the extra costs like shoes and other optional sports gear will bring the price up well above what some families will able to pay.

The parking fee is an additional weight on athletes and club members. Sport and club fees are increasing along with the parking passes, and they’ve become something that goes hand in hand ever since activity busses were cut. It’s very difficult for athletes to participate whole-heartedly in a sport if they don’t have a parking pass.

These are the real problems Kaneland families face, but despite the way families might feel, this is something that has to be done, because the school board had no options that would please everyone. Basically, the school board has exhausted their options.

Some students don’t think we should raise the fees, because most teams fund raise in addition to buying their own equipment and paying the mandatory fee.

“It may be harder for families to pay for it, and as a result, many people wouldn’t be able to play sports,” junior Alli Liss said.

While we would normally be against a fee increase, and it’s going to be difficult for families who are already struggling to put their children in sports, it shouldn’t discourage anyone.

“Our intent was that anybody, any student who has any hardship would make that hardship known. We will reach out to those individuals. We don’t want anybody to not participate who wants to participate,” Krasupe said.

The fee increase is an alternate option, and the only one that would satisfy the furious families and the depleting funds.

The school is creating a waiver for families in tough financial situations, so that they can recieve assistance and still participate in activities they want.

“If anyone is having a financial hardship, we want them to make it known,” Krasupe said.

While the fees are the repercussions of the horrible state of Illinois’ budget, and years of bad decisions on the Illinois state legislature’s part, it’s a better decision than cutting sports altogether. We can’t run away from the fees. The school needs this money, whether we want to face the facts or not.

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