Thursday, April 26, 2018
Education

Hernando School Board considers ending student activity fee

BROOKSVILLE — After two years of widely varying collection results, Hernando County School Board members have asked the district to re-examine the $15 student activity fee that was designed to raise money during a time of shrinking budgets.

Superintendent Lori Romano, who started July 1, said district staffers will survey principals to see where they stand on the fee.

School Board member Dianne Bonfield brought up the issue during a Tuesday afternoon workshop, noting the disparity in collection rates.

"We got a report it was rather dismal on the collection of those fees," Bonfield said. "Do we still want to try to collect them, or do we want to, you know, do away with them?"

For the 2012-13 school year, Hernando schools collected money from about 40 percent of students, generating roughly $130,000, according to the district. That was up from 37 percent the previous year.

Chocachatti Elementary, which has one of the district's most affluent populations, collected fees from about 91 percent of its students. Eastside Elementary, with the district's highest percentage of children qualifying for free or reduced-price meals, collected fees from just 3.7 percent of its students — $285.

School Board member Cynthia Moore was surprised to learn that all schools weren't collecting the fees.

"What do you mean every school wasn't doing it?" she asked. "It was required."

The School Board approved the fee after budget cuts in 2011 in an effort to assist with the cost of supporting clubs, extracurricular activities and school functions. The fee money stays with the school where it is collected. While the district has said the fee is required, students who do not pay are not barred from participating in activities. There is a separate fee for students who participate in athletics.

"It almost became overburdensome to try and persuade people to pay it without any foundation for why they should do it," said assistant superintendent of teaching and learning Ken Pritz, who was principal at Hernando High School when the fee was instituted.

Pritz liked the idea of a survey.

"It would be a shame to take it away from (the schools) if they were really benefiting from it," he said.

Moore said she thinks the extra money is important for schools.

"Any amount we get helps," she said. "I just think it's necessary to keep."

Board Chairman Matt Foreman said that, under the current setup, the district is basically authorizing principals to raise money for the general benefit of their schools.

"I don't know what benefit we're going to get from revoking that permission," Foreman said.

Danny Valentine can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.

Comments
Parents are buzzing about Pinellas’ newest magnet school

Parents are buzzing about Pinellas’ newest magnet school

ST. PETERSBURG — If the crowds that showed up for two open houses last week are any indication, the Pinellas County school district may have hit on a recipe that could finally turn around one of its most struggling schools.The two events drew more th...
Published: 04/26/18
Sheriff: Sunlake SRO who took down student 'did what he had to do'

Sheriff: Sunlake SRO who took down student 'did what he had to do'

UPDATE: The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office has decided that Cpl. Richard Stackon acted properly in that incident. Sheriff Chris Nocco made that announcement at a Wednesday news conference where he also defended Stackon’s actons.   LAND O...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Hillsborough says its teachers are well-paid; the teachers say it’s not true. Who’s right?

Hillsborough says its teachers are well-paid; the teachers say it’s not true. Who’s right?

TAMPA — Seeking to show that Hillsborough County school officials waste money that could go to teacher raises, union director Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins talked about highly paid administrators. She talked about legal fees paid to outside firms when in-...
Published: 04/25/18
Converting Ridgewood High generates excitement, dismay

Converting Ridgewood High generates excitement, dismay

NEW PORT RICHEY — Chris Dunning is a bundle of energy as he greets families to Wendell Krinn Technical High School’s first open house.He talks rapid fire about the opportunities to earn college credits and gain career training while also completing a...
Published: 04/25/18
Hernando schools superintendent ‘pink-slipped’ by public following firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary

Hernando schools superintendent ‘pink-slipped’ by public following firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary

BROOKSVILLE –– A room full of people wearing purple erupted in frustration before Hernando County school officials Tuesday night, scolding Superintendent Lori Romano for her recent firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary, which has been struggling ...
Published: 04/25/18
Hernando school officials deny Chehuntamo charter school on second try

Hernando school officials deny Chehuntamo charter school on second try

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County School Board on Tuesday denied the 2019 opening of Chehuntamo Advanced Performance High School, a charter school proposed by the same group that applied once before in 2017.The team behind the school, said to be for ...
Published: 04/25/18
Hernando School Board okays second district-wide survey to evaluate superintendent

Hernando School Board okays second district-wide survey to evaluate superintendent

BROOKSVILLE — A second district-wide survey to evaluate the performance of Superintendent Lori Romano soon will go out to about 3,000 Hernando County School District employees, giving them a chance to weigh in on the job she is doing.The instrument, ...
Published: 04/25/18
Hillsborough’s Eakins gets high praise for finances, mixed reviews on other issues in his annual School Board evaluations

Hillsborough’s Eakins gets high praise for finances, mixed reviews on other issues in his annual School Board evaluations

TAMPA — Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins is proud of his record in boosting high school graduation rates and inroads he has made in marketing the nation’s eight largest school district.His seven bosses on the School Board...
Published: 04/25/18
Sarasota student, family apologize for racist ‘promposal’

Sarasota student, family apologize for racist ‘promposal’

The family of the 18-year-old Sarasota high school student under fire for the racist prom proposal he sent out on social media this weekend has publicly apologized for their son’s actions. They also said that as a result of his actions, he wil...
Published: 04/24/18
Updated: 04/25/18
SRO being investigated in Pasco County for arrest of student

SRO being investigated in Pasco County for arrest of student

LAND O’LAKES — A school resource officer at Sunlake High School is under investigation after he tried to take a female student into custody on Tuesday, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.School officials asked the SRO remove the student f...
Published: 04/24/18