Students in Wauseon schools won’t have to pay to participate in sports or extra-curricular activities, at least for the 2018-19 school year.
The Board of Education on Monday voted to suspend the district’s pay-to-play policy after an administrative review showed it prevented some students from participating and reaped too little reward to justify its operation. While the suspension was approved for the next school year, it could remain in effect indefinitely.
Superintendent Larry Brown said the just over $9,000 students pay annually to participate in athletics and extra-curricular activities is decidedly nominal compared to the work placed on district staff members to collect it and complete paperwork. He estimated between 40 and 60 people are involved in the process.
“We don’t necessarily feel that we’re getting a great bang for our work that goes into collecting that $9,000,” he said. Brown said the revenue the district will lose during the suspension is insubstantial compared to the workload generated to collect it. He also noted the cost to the district due to related checks returned for insufficient funds.
“There’s a lot of tracking that goes into monitoring all those fees, (and) there’s a lot of people involved in that tracking,” he said.
The pay-to-pay revenue has been used to cover some supplemental staff contracts, with the remainder placed in the district’s general fund.
Brown said much of the district’s student population is already exempt from pay to participate fees based on their free and reduced lunch categorization, and some extra-curricular activities receive waivers due to their educational value. He said in other cases students simply forego joining sports teams or extra-curriculars because they can’t afford the fees.
Board member Larry Fruth expressed reservations, saying Wauseon pay-to-play fees are “pretty darn cheap” as compared other school districts, some which charge $400 or more. He also said once the district suspends the policy it will be hard to reinstate.
But Treasurer Dave Fleming argued, “For the bang for the buck that we’re getting, I’m not sure the value’s there. It’s just taking up a tremendous amount of time.”
Fleming said Tuesday the primary reason for the policy suspension is because it prevents some students from participating. As for the lost income, he is looking into ways to replace it, he said.
“My hope is that we’re going to be able to focus more on educating the kids,” Fleming said.
The pay to participate policy was initiated for the 2011-12 school year after the district faced budget cutbacks. The fee has traditionally been $15 for middle school students and $25 for high school students per activity, with a $50 cap for families.
In other business, the school board approved the purchase of a metal roof for the district’s new administration building, at an additional cost of $78,408. Prior to the vote, the board discussed the advantages of a metal roof over a traditional, and less costly, asphalt shingle roof.
Brown said there was concern in the community about paying the extra cost for a metal roof when it offered only a 20-year warranty. An asphalt roof would come with a 40-year warranty.
He said the warranty’s coverage doesn’t reflect the stamina of a metal roof, adding, “We certainly believe that the metal roof would have more useful life than 20 years.” He said while both types of roofs have benefits, “I think once you explain the difference between the warranty versus the useful life, I think it sides toward a metal roof. But there are additional costs, and you have to be accountable.”
Board member Rick Stidham noted the problem of asphalt shingles blowing off in bad weather. He said although the metal roof costs more upfront, “I think it’s a better way to go in the long run, in the big picture. Aesthetically, it would look well, and I think it’s going to last. It’s a better product.”
Board member Stacia Radabaugh said she researched metal roofing, and believes it will be a cost savings. Board President Sandy Griggs agreed, saying, “It’s a lot of money but I think it will pay for itself in the long run.”
In further business, the school board approved: a $100 donation from the Wauseon Lions Club to the Wauseon High School National Honor Society; motions for modifications and supplemental modifications to the fiscal year 2018 Permanent Appropriations and Certificate of Estimated Resources; a “then and now” certificate for $20,819.15 to the Florida Farm Bureau for FFA fruit sales; the 2018-19 school calendar; and an annual service agreement with the Northwest Ohio Educational Service Center.
Personnel appointments included: the reassignment of Brittany Webster from second grade to first grade teacher for the 2018-19 school year; a three-year limited administrative contract to Timothy McQuade as school psychologist for the 2018-19 school year; a one-year limited classified contract to Brenda Aeschliman as a middle school cook; Jodi Posey as a substitute bus driver; Heide Klingensmith, Randy Meyer, and Dan Seiler as bus driver trainees; James Vaughn as a substitute van driver; one-year limited outside athletic supplemental contracts to Megan Fields as junior varsity softball coach and Steve Marks as assistant baseball coach; a one-year limited certificated athletic supplemental contract to Christian Crew as junior varsity track coach.
Approved volunteers coaches include Hannah Dymarkowski, Jodie Harrington, Dyaln Leu, Sabrina Lind, Roy Norman, Mark Schang, Brandon Schantz, Peyten Shadbolt, and Jack Warncke.
In building reports:
• Kindergarten registration at the primary school will be held April 12-13. Principal Blake Young reported 92 scheduled appointments to date.
Wellness Week is scheduled Feb. 26-March 2. Family Fit Night will be March 1 at 6:30 p.m.
Upcoming events include Family Trivia Night, Feb. 23; Fifth Grade Musical, March 6 and 8; student-led conferences, March 20.
• Middle school state-mandated testing in reading and language arts will be held April 10 and 12.
• High school curriculum/testing will include: ACT Accommodations Testing, Feb. 27; ACT testing, March 20; ELA I and II, April 17 and 19; American History and Government, April 24; Biology, April 26; Algebra and Geometry, May 1 and 3.
Students entered into the Black Swamp Arts Council High School Art Show, to be held through Feb. 22, include Jordan Ward, Alyssa Russell, Kendra Gorczyka, Jaslyn Johnson, Mercedes Osley, Conner Hicks, Madison Baugh, and Christina Norman.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.
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