Alpine School District approved the district fee schedule for the 2021-2022 school year by unanimous vote at its board meeting on Tuesday, March 23.
Despite community pushback on expensive school fees at the last board meeting on March 9, the board approved fee adjustments for the coming school year.
“Fee schedules in the state of Utah have been in existence for many years. In essence, they are a user fee and they are a key component to funding public schools in Utah,” said assistant superintendent Rob Smith.
Smith also said funding for Utah schools is different than other states. “Those who have lived in other states will understand (that) coming to Utah can be a shock when you register your students because there are user fees for participation.”
The purpose of school fees is “to preserve equal opportunity for all students and to limit diversion of money and school and staff resources from the basic school program,” according to schools.utah.gov.
Smith said school administrators understand these fees often place a heavy financial burden upon families, especially families with multiple children in middle and high schools.
“I’m grateful for the administrators, principals and secretaries that actually work with our students and coaches and parents, whether it’s fundraisers or fee waivers, to try to ensure opportunities for all students,” Smith said.
School administrators hope to make the school fees process run more smoothly in order to help parents know and understand the expenses long before they are due.
“We’ll continue to support (school administrators) and continue to help find ways to make the process easier while also being transparent and trying to make a process helpful for parents too,” said Steve Reese, director of accounting for the district.
Members of the school board expressed their support for the school fees process as well.
“Extracurricular and curricular activities are an integral part of our schools and this is a wonderful opportunity for kids in public schools. They get the best bang for their buck in our schools. I think we need to protect our programs,” said board member Ada Wilson.
“Our extracurriculars are the things that keep kids coming because it provides opportunity to develop talents, friendships and connections,” said board member Sara Hacken.
The full 2021-2022 Alpine School District fee schedule is available on the district website.