'Pay-to-participate' resurfaces at SCA
CATAWISSA RR - The concept of "pay to participate" has resurfaced again in Southern Columbia Area four months after a similar proposal failed to gain enough support from school board members.
At the Monday night meeting, Director Charlene Cove, who also chairs the policy committee, told the other board members that a policy to determine the logistics and fees for extracurricular activities was being discussed.
However, the committee meetings were not long enough to generate quality discussions and she suggested scheduling a meeting which the members can meet for longer periods of time.
Tentatively, the policy committee will meet Wednesday, Nov. 3. A time was not set.
In June, a motion to require district students participating in athletic and extracurricular activities to pay a $50 fee was struck down on a split vote from the board.
At that meeting, President Mike Yeager said the motion was too vague and didn't specify which grade levels and activities would be included in the program while other board members were worried students wouldn't participate if there was a fee.
When Vice President Charlie Porter raised the issue last year, there were significant changes in the structure of state funding for public schools, leaving boards scrambling the past two budget seasons to fill large deficits. Since these issues surfaced, the Pennsylvania School Board Association and Pennsylvania State Athletic Directors Association last year released a survey that reported the number of schools charging a fee for sports and extracurricular programs has more than doubled in just two years.
Some school activities are extracurricular, such as sports and certain clubs, while others are co-curricular, such as band or music programs which count for grades. Co-curriculars would have been exempt from the pay-to-participate program if the motion had passed.
Students who are eligible for free or reduced lunches would likely be exempt from paying a fee, Cove said.
In other business, the board approved:
- An agreement with Mount Carmel Area School District to educate a special education student in Southern's Life Skills Support class at a fee of $29,685.85.
- The daily substitute rate for a registered nurse at $145 per day and for a licenses practical nurse at $100 per day.
- The resignations of Lurae Brady, who has been with the district since November 2010, from the position of full-time paraprofessional; Susan Stone from the position of junior high field hockey coach, and Casie Baker from the position of assistant junior high field hockey coach.
- Changing John Hoover and Alan Langelli from substitute bus drivers to regular bus drivers.