Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More NJ districts are charging activity fees.

A recent survey by the New Jersey School Boards Association showed that approximately 40% of districts charge activity fees for students involved in extracurricular activities. Of those districts that charge activity fees, half charge a flat fee, and 34.6 percent charge a per-activity fee. (Ridgewood charges a flat fee for students in the middle schools and high school.)

Click here to see more detailed results on the survey.

A few selected comments from the survey results:

Our district has charged for activities for the past 10 years or so. We instituted them after several budget defeats and thought it would have a positive effect on parent/voter turnout … but so far, it hasn't seemed to work out. We have had surprisingly little reaction to the fees.

We discussed this for last year but decided that, although we could have used the money, we had to make sure that we had a policy in place and we were not going down the path of poor implementation like so many districts have.

I don't understand why everyone thinks when they get to high school, sports and other activities should be free. If they want the extras and the district does not have the money, they must be willing to pay. It's better than cutting the program!

I am not in favor of charging for activities/sports that are run through the schools. It is important that we encourage participation in activities/sports for many reasons. It's proven that kids who participate are better students.

It is an unfortunate necessity. Co-curriculars are a critical part of a student's education, but the state's failure to make good on its constitutional obligation to fund schools according to its own formula leads us down the slippery slope of having parents pay for "extras" that aren't really extra at all. Sad times for education in New Jersey

With 2 percent cap, activity fees may be the only way to protect extra curricular & co-curricular programs.

It is an unfortunate requirement in today's economic climate.

We have looked at this in the past, and will probably look at it in the future. At the moment we prefer not to impose this type of fee.

Extracurricular activities should be considered part of the essential educational experience and should be fully funded through the existing revenue streams.

We have raised the required number of participating students for clubs and activities, which has reduced the number of clubs and activities, and hence reduced some of our costs. Also, we have secured grants from the freeholder board to fund our after-school tutoring/homework club and our girls' and boys' running clubs.

We are introducing activity fees starting in the 2011-2012 school year. We felt it was time to take a small step into this area, especially when presenting a balanced budget is increasingly difficult.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And it is illegal for them to charge a fee. Oh, they can ask but they can not insist. I know, we've checked with the state.