Isle of Wight Co., Va. – Parents will have to pay more for some classes and activities starting in the 2013-2014 school year.
The new fees were approved by the Isle of Wight County School Board as part of the FY 2013-2014 School Operating Budget.
Students who take elective courses like art, chorus, band or theater at the high schools will have to pay $10 for each of those classes and students at the middle schools will incur a $5 fee per semester or $3.75 per nine weeks for the elective classes.
A release from Isle of Wight says that “while the cost of these courses surpasses the budget for the normal academic curriculum, they remain a top priority and the school division is committed to offering them to students during tough economic times.”
However, the plan isn’t sitting well with all parents, like Jennifer Bell.
“To charge a public school student extra on top of paying the salary of a teacher, I just think is a little ridiculous,” Bell explained.
The new fees will also impact students after the school day ends.
The activity fee for participation in junior varsity or varsity sports, as well as all Virginia High School League activities will be $40 per student / per season, with a maximum cap of $100 per school year.
Isle of Wight says that fee will supplement the cost of officials, transportation, field maintenance, athletic trainers and VHSL membership fees.
Students at the two Isle of Wight County High Schools will also have to pay more if they want to park at school next year.
The parking permit fee will double to $100 per year or $50 per semester, with money to defray costs associated with upkeep including paving, repairs and signage.
The new fees are the latest way the cash-strapped school division is getting creative when it comes to the budget.
During the 2012-2013 school year, Isle of Wight Schools ran a $1 million deficit – an emergency meeting and funds from the Board of Supervisors kept the division from having to furlough teachers.
The problems have parents like Bell considering other options for her children.
“Honestly, I toyed with the idea of putting my children in a private school,” Bell explained, “But that’s an expense. That’s a huge expense and I’d rather pay for college rather than private school for K -12.”