BOE meeting includes approval to increase student fees

The bad news at last night's Augusta Board of Education meeting was the approval of an increase in student fees. However, the good news is that Augusta's fees will be lower compared to other school districts in the area.

Superintendent John Black and Assistant Superintendent Holly Francis advised the board that the increase is a result of cost increase of curriculum materials (i.e. textbooks) and technology.

The last fee increase was made approximately 10 years ago.

Board members approved a $10 fee increase for PreK2 students through high school grades. For the Middle School additional fees will be charged if/when a middle school student takes the following courses during the school year:

Science (7-8th), $15; Art (6th), $5; Art (7-8th), $10; Band (6-8th), $10; and Physical Education, $3.

"We are looking at the fees for high school courses, but we'll leave the increase at $10 this year. We may need to do some consolidation for more efficiency. We'll be working on that," Assistant Superintendent Francis said.

Board member Rinkenbaugh said, "I know fees can get costly. We want to be fair and we want students to be able to take desired courses, but we don't want to charge for courses not taken. More research will need to be done on this."

Board member Charlie Garcia asked, "Is it cheaper to go on-line or to still use textbooks?"

Francis responded, "It's getting there, but we're not there yet. Maybe eventually."

Surrounding District Comparables
Textbook fees        Augusta    El Dorado    Andover    Douglass    RoseH
Early Childhood       $45.             30.        N/A        35.              75.
Kindergarten             45.             50.        65.        65.              75.
1st and 2nd              45.             50.        75.        65.              95.
3rd - 5th                  45.             50.        75.        65.              100.
6th                          50.             55.        75.        100.            100.
7th - 8th                  50.             55.        75.        70.              100.
9th - 12th                50.             55.        75.        70.              105.

(More coverage of the meeting will be in Thursday's Gazette).