Proposes fee percentage increase
The St. Michael-Albertville School Board accepted the Activity Program and Funding Committee’s report on how to sustain activities for the next five years, including fee increases.
A committee of coaches, parents and community members has met four times and is now recommending to the board how to sustain activities in light of future district budget difficulties.
Committee summaries include that STMA has a high level of participation in activity programs; salaries, benefits and transportation account for 75 percent of expenditures; revenues generated by activities pay for 50 percent of the activities program; coach, officials and transportation costs have increased; STMA fees are the second lowest among 10 polled schools; and that a $10 increase in fees would generate $9,000 at the middle school and $8,500 at the high school.
The report stated that in order to avoid program cuts, the sub-committee believed that student participants and booster clubs should increase their share of the total activities budget.
The increase for each group will represent approximately 5 percent of the total budget. The committee recommended that booster clubs fund 10 percent of the activities budget, student participation fees fund 25 percent, and the district fund the remaining 65 percent. The sub-committee also recommended investigating the idea of one booster club to manage fund raising and working in collaboration with individual program booster clubs.
STMA’s fees currently fund 25 percent of the budget, so the recommended increase is for 5 more percent.
Also, the committee said that, if in the next two to three years, it becomes necessary for the school board to reduce expenditures across district programs, it recommends three to five values to apply when looking at activity programs.
The committee identified five values it believed the board should consider if it must reduce expenditures in district activities programs. In order of priority:
1. Sustaining participation — number of students in the program
2. Impact on district enrollment — eliminating a program may result in lost enrollment
4. Viable options to district programs, for example clubs
5. Student enrichment – in what ways do activity programs compliment the curriculum
The board accepted the report for further study and asked that high school activities director Brian Benson, middle schools activities Scott Sukalski and Supt. Jim Behle come back at the May 5 board meeting with specific recommendations for a change in fees for next year.
In other action, the board:
APPROVED expanding the Project Phoenix “Bring Your Own Device” program for classroom instruction to all grades seven and eight, and to the high school. It was reported that teachers feel the Project Phoenix pilot program was a success.
APPROVED capital project plan funding for technology and curriculum materials about $1 million of the $1.3 million budget. The rest would be used for sports equipment, purchasing materials to meet enrollment increases, and for grounds equipment snow removal.