Athletic fee waivers stay; cap introduced

School District 51 will continue to waive fees next year for athletes who are homeless or in foster care, even as the district plans to increase athletic fees by $20 for middle school students and $40 for high school students.

Athletic fees will cost $50 for middle schoolers and $110 for high schoolers, per sport, as part of a plan to save money as the district cuts about $10 million from the 2011-12 budget. Fees also will increase to $110 from $70 for high school extracurricular groups, including speech and debate and Knowledge Bowl teams.

The tradition of waiving fees or allowing students or parents to “work off” the fees by volunteering will continue, according to District 51 Athletic Director Paul Cain.

“We have never turned a kid down for participation,” Cain said.

The district also plans to introduce a cap of $440 for fees paid by a single family next year. The district has 13 families paying fees for more than four high school sports participated in by their children. The most any family is paying this year is nine high school sports fees, according to District 51 Executive Director of Support Services Melissa Callahan DeVita.

DeVita said some other school fees will shift up or down next year, with the most noticeable elementary level fee increases being in classrooms where teachers will take over the role of buying school supplies so parents don’t have to. The cost of supplies will be rolled into the fees at those schools.


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