Friday, August 01, 2014

Ottawa adopts flat fee structure

By The Herald Staff | 6/30/2014

The Ottawa school district is moving to a flat textbook fee structure for the 2014-2015 school year — with no participation fees.

The school board voted Monday to adopt revisions to the district fees.

The Ottawa school district is moving to a flat textbook fee structure for the 2014-2015 school year — with no participation fees.

The school board voted Monday to adopt revisions to the district fees.

Jeanne Stroh, superintendent of Ottawa schools, recommended the district move to a flat fee structure so all students have the opportunity to participate in elective choices, she said. Last year, high school and middle school students paid textbook fees in addition to activity and elective fees.

Stroh’s proposed fee structure is comparable to other school districts in the Frontier League, she said.

Ottawa High School’s textbook fee will be $150, which includes technology and activity but not yearbook, she said. High school textbook fees at league districts responding to Stroh’s request for information ranged from $124 to $180, according to her report. Some schools also charged a separate participation fee for athletics and other activities and electives, she said.

OHS students who qualify for free lunches will pay $25 for textbook fees, while students who qualified for reduced lunch prices will pay $75 under the fees approved by the board.

Textbook fees for Ottawa Middle School students will be $100, with students qualifying for free lunches paying no textbook fees and students qualifying for reduced lunch costs paying $50.

Stroh’s original fee proposal for elementary students was $90, but she told the school board Monday that after talking with school principals she decided to lower the fee to $70.

“After further discussion with elementary principals, I determined that the [$90 elementary] fees I recommended to the Board of Education June 9 would be difficult for many families,” Stroh said in her report.

Elementary students qualifying for free lunches would pay no textbook fees and students who qualified for reduced lunch costs would pay $35.

During the 2013-2014 school year, OHS students paid a textbook fee plus a student activity fee of $20, with an additional fee for electives, while middle school students paid a textbook fee plus an elective fee of $40 and a student activity fee of $10.

The school board also approved Stroh’s proposed refund policy for textbook fees.

Under the policy, the school district would refund 100 percent to students who paid the fees at enrollment but did not come to the school. The district would refund 75 percent to departing students between Aug. 14 and Aug. 31 and 50 percent to students who leave between Sept. 1 and Sept. 30. No refunds will be issued after September.

For students who enrolled after Sept. 1, the following refund policy would apply: 100 percent refund if the student does not attend school; 75 percent refund for first 10 days, 50 percent refund for the first month. No refunds would be issued after the first month of attendance.

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