Student Orientation Day Fee, Updated (and updated again)

From Johnny Burtito's Ugly Money (click for more)

From Johnny Burrito's Ugly Money (click for more)

Update (8/27/2009, 5:15PM): I learned from Asst. Superintendent for Secondary Education Pam Nash, that West will follow the example of the other High Schools and find a way to fund the Freshman Orientation activities and refreshments without charging a fee.

I’ve been given more information by a Board of Education member and asked to “correct” my previous post on the Freshman Orientation Day fee at West High School.  The new information is welcome and I am glad to share it, but since this information does not contradict anything in the initial post, this is an update, not a “correction.”

I am told that this fee has been in place previous years.  I have no easy way to check that because the Regent Reporter is not archived on line.  As I noted previously, the fee does not appear on the Madison Metropolitan School District web page on 2009-10 student fees.  Nor is it mentioned in a 2005 report to the Board of Education on student fees. Based on this I wrote “It appears to be a new fee.”

I am told that it is used for “ the cost of the food and carnival.”  In the previous post the possibility that it was for refreshments was considered;  I hadn’t realized that there was a carnival involved.

I repeat that if transitions are a priority, they should be funded by the district.

I also want to add something more, based on the DPI Guidelines. That document permits fees for  “[s]ocial and extracurricular activities, as they are not necessary elements of a high school career (emphasis added). This is the crux. If the orientation is necessary, it should be free.  If it isn’t, then students should be able to decide if they want to pay for food and carnivals (bread and circuses?) or not.

A five-spot won’t buy much these days, but I still think the fee is wrong.

Thomas J. Mertz

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Filed under "education finance", Budget, education, finance, Local News, School Finance

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