Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, July 24, 2000

Activity fees on the up and up at Lester Prairie schools

By Jane Otto

In its quest to balance the budget and generate dollars, the Lester Praire School Board doubled athletic fees for junior and senior high sports at its meeting last Monday.

Initially, a hike from $20 to $25 per sport for grades 9-12 with a maximum of $50 for three sports was recommended. The small increase in senior high fees prompted board member Kyllo to respond.

"It doesn't look like what's prepared here will generate that much extra revenue to allow us to balance the budget," said Kyllo.

This year, the school generated $7,000 in athletic fees, Kyllo said.

"If we're going to generate $5,000 more, that's a 75 percent increase. I expected to see almost every number doubled in order to make that happen," Kyllo said.

"I thought they were going to double, too," said board member Gene Starke.

"We can change it. This is just a suggestion," said Supt. James Redfield.

Board member Nancy Krull said that more revenue is probably generated in grades 7-8 since more kids typically go out for sports in those grades until they find what they like.

Ticket sales is another money generator.

Starke said even though there are only three home football games, there are 24 home events for girls and boys basketball and volleyball combined.

"I think they're getting a real good deal for what we charged. We need to generate revenue at some place. That might be a way to do it," said Starke.

Individual ticket prices will remain at $2 for both students and seniors, and $3 for adults, however all season passes will increase by $10. Family season passes, which includes four passes, will see a $40 increase.

Participation in non-athletic events will bear a cost to students, too. Speech is $10, drama $15 for one play or $25 for two, choir $5, pep band $10, and other activities $5.

School lunch didn't escape the price hikes either. The cost for milk break saw the largest increase from $25.50 to $35.

(See list for 2000-2001 fees with this story.)

Required standards

Dean of Students and graduation standards technician Joe Miller proposed what graduation standards the school should require.

All standards will still be implemented in the classroom, but those that are required will be assessed and recorded with the state.

Schools must notify the state by the Aug. 15 deadline as to what standards it will require. Teachers, administration, and the board must all agree on what standards will be required.

"If those groups don't agree, then it defaults back to all the standards listed in the Profile of Learning, including the primary, intermediate, and middle standards," said Miller.

Miller told the board that the Legislature will "most likely deal with the graduation standards in its next session and change it."

He recommended that two standards be required for the class of 2001 ­ economic systems and inquiry (research process). A third standard ­ U.S. citizenship ­ would be added for the 2002 class, with eight standards being required for the class of 2003.

"We will still assess most standards, but send to the state only those that we require," said Miller.

Kyllo asked Miller if the staff is going to be doing all the standards, why not just make them all required?

Miller replied that if a standard isn't completed, it gives the student more time to work on it and get it done correctly. He said the school can look at what teachers are doing and see if modifications are needed before requiring a particular standard.

The software to record standards will be ready in about two to three years, but it was supposed to be ready prior to requiring them, said Redfield.

"We're taking the advice of Bob Ness (District 20A state representative) and going slow," he said.

Board member Bob Remer suggested that the board approve Miller's proposal pending the teachers' approval.

"If the teachers don't approve it, then we can have a meeting," Remer said.

If necessary, the special meeting will be Monday, Aug. 14 at 6 p.m.

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