WESTPORT — The School Committee is mulling a fee increase for Macomber and elementary School lunches but a decrease in transportation and sports equipment fees for the junior/senior high school.
Conversations on this topic happened at the last two committee meetings and the committee is scheduled to make a decision on the proposed increases and decreases at its July 10 meeting.
School Business Manager Michelle Rapoza at the June 1 meeting proposed raising the lunch prices from $2.75 per student to $3. She explained that a formula is used and mandated by the state Department of Elementary & Secondary Education and it was discovered that the two schools’ prices were a bit too low. The $3 mark for the junior/senior high school would remain at $3 per student.
The junior/senior school students and their families will see a decrease in some fees if the committee votes affirmatively on July 10.
Student parking fees are proposed to drop from $25 to $15 and the sports equipment fees are proposed to drop from a $750 cap per family to a $500 cap per family. Students playing two or more sports could realize a fee drop of $250 per sport to $175 per sport. Meanwhile, transportation fees for the Grade 7 through 12 students will drop from $225 per student to $200, while the cap per family would decrease from $450 to $400.
Student activity fees will remain the same at $25 per student with a cap of $100 for students involved in multiple clubs. The cheerleading fee is expected to stay the same at $175 per student while the ice hockey fee is expected to stay the same at $800 due to the expense of the sport.
The School Committee was supposed to vote on the matter at its June 22 meeting but erred on the side of caution. Some committee members were expecting to sign a disclosure form at that meeting but the form had not been ready for the meeting. Some committee members have children in the district, who play sports, ride the buses and are involved in activities.
Rapoza explained at both the June 1 and June 22 meetings that to balance the budget in wake of these decreases, money would be shifted from the revolving fund while a full-time nursing leader position would be changed to part-time. Rapoza said through the use of solar and through two mild winters in which the school spent less on utility costs, more money will be saved to help absorb the fee reduction.
Committee member Carolina Africano proposed also reducing the cheerleading expense. She said that the $175 is the same for some sports, but cheerleading does not incur any transportation or equipment expenses.