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‘Activity Fee’ to Hit Upper Dublin?

The Upper Dublin School Board brings up the possibility of an ‘activity fee’ during Monday night’s budget meeting.

Upper Dublin School District Superintendent Michael Pladus called it a “thorny idea,” but he also said, “everything was on the table.”

The Upper Dublin School Board reviewed the district’s 2013-14 preliminary budget at its meeting Monday night, delving into vocational education to maintenance to student activities.  While the 3-hour-plus presentation was rather staid, the “student activities” portion drew some comments from board members.

Click here for more info on the preliminary budget.

According to district business administrator Brenda Bray, the preliminary budget currently has $1.3 million allocated to “student activities.” The figure is down slightly over the 2011-12 actual expenses. The biggest expenses in this category are salaries (61 percent) and employee benefits (22 percent).

Board president Joseph Chmielewski said implementing an across-the-board student activity fee wouldn’t be unreasonable.

“If we could get help [by implementing an] activity fee, that’s something we should pursue,” Chmielewski said. “Maybe an activity fee of $100 at the high school — a parent pays for each child at the beginning of the year, and then hey, knock yourself out. Join any club you want to.”

School board member Joan Ludwig called it “a pretty good thought.”

Pladus said at a January board meeting that such a fee could raise $50,000. He added that colleges and universities routinely charge students a fee, but said that he doesn’t know any school district that do an across-the-board activity fee.

“Some do ‘pay-to-play,’ and [fees are] legal, but the school districts who do it said anecdotally that it does not raise the amount they thought it would, and that it decreases participation.”

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Check back later for an update.

SMDH March 07, 2013 at 02:17 AM
Well, I know where I live, you cannot pay the fee until you have been accepted into the activity. My daughter played a sport in middle school, after she made the team we had one week to submit our fee. It had no impact on playing time. She usually started, but some girls were bench players and they paid the same fee. Same for the musical my son is in now--fee was collected after the tryouts and the results were posted.
Bill S. March 07, 2013 at 03:00 AM
@udresident - How do you qualify who can afford 100 bucks vs who can't in a High School with that many kids without creating a administration job that will cost more then the 50 grand your trying to raise.....pay cuts across the board distributed evenly from custodial staff, bus drivers, teachers, and administrators is a better option. If everyone sacrificed a little, perhaps no one would lose a job at all.
vincent catanzaro March 07, 2013 at 03:30 AM
Bill S. I'm with you. Across the board pay cuts seems the best option to resolve the problem..for now, since the bul k of the debt is due to salaries and benefits.
qdogPa March 07, 2013 at 11:50 AM
Revising the current benefits,primarily the pension, will go a long way into alleviating the financial issues
card4ever March 12, 2013 at 08:03 PM
card4ever why should the bus drivers and custodial staff give up their last pay raise when the superintendent has said that the district will be outsourcing their jobs as soon as the contract is up.

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