Fee compromise will affect bands' budgets
Parents of some band students in the Groveport-Madison Local School District were apparently caught by surprise by new pay-to-participate fees that went into effect this year for students in sixth grade through high school.
"The parents and voters in the district showed you we cared when we voted for the levy and passed it. These same parents feel betrayed," said Deborah Woody, parent of a band member, at the Sept. 13 Groveport-Madison Board of Education meeting.
Superintendent Bruce Hoover told the parents and students in the audience he understands the value of the district's music programs, but that many members of the community want "end users" to pay for activities they participate in.
"I'm not trying to mess with a good thing. I'm trying to be fiscally responsible," he said.
The board approved a resolution in May to require students who participate in band, high school choir, theater/ drama and the Cruiserettes to pay $100 per activity this school year. For the first time this year, students involved in student council, the school newspaper, National Honor Society, mock trial, Spanish Club and yearbook at the middle school, junior high and high school levels are paying $25 per activity.
High school athletes and cheerleaders now pay $150 per sport and a separate $25 fee for drug testing; junior high school and middle school athletes and cheerleaders are charged $100.
As a compromise, Hoover said band students in grades six through eight will pay $50 per person to participate this year, but will be charged the full amount next school year. However, the instrument and supply budget for those bands will be reduced this year to make up the difference.
High school students will still be charged the $100 band fee, but will have until the end of the first grading period to pay.
"I hope the band parents understand that I am listening. I want the program to be successful, and I want the program to be successful in the long term," Hoover said. "Given our financial situation, even with the passage of the levy, we do not have additional revenue. We do need the support of the band parents and all of our parents to help Groveport."