By EDWARD HUSAR Herald-Whig Staff Writer
MENDON, Ill. -- The Mendon School Board decided last week to raise certain student fees and start charging an "activity fee" to participate in extracurricular activities.
The new activity fee, which goes into effect next fall, will be $50 for students in grades K-6 and $100 for grades 7-12. The annual fee will allow students to take part in as many extracurricular activities as they wish.
Superintendent Diane Robertson said the fee is being imposed to help the district recover some of the costs associated with offering extracurricular activities.
"When you cut as much as you can on the cutting side, then the only other alterative you have is to look on the revenue side and see where you can increase the revenue," she said. "That's about the only place left where you can do something."
In addition to launching the activity fee, the School Board decided to bump up book rental and technology fees. Students up through grade 6 will pay $100, while students in grades 7-12 will pay $150.
Previously, the book rental/tech fee was $70 for students up to 4th grade; $80 for grades 5-8; and $90 for grades 9-12.
The School Board also is boosting the district's driver's education fee to $175 from the current $125.
Robertson said the district will offer a quarterly or monthly payment plan to help families pay the higher fees. The district also will let families pay fees and meal costs through a new credit card portal on the district's website.
In addition, the district plans to establish a low-interest loan program for families that need help paying any of the above fees.
In other action, the board decided to amend Robertson's retirement date to May 24 instead of June 30. Her newly hired replacement, Brian Kurz, will take over May 25 instead of July 1.
Robertson said this change is being made to make it possible for Kurz to take advantage of in-service training programs that will be offered to Illinois administrators in early June on matters related to education reform initiatives. She said it makes sense for Kurz to attend those training sessions instead of her since he will be overseeing the district in the future.
The Mendon School Board will meet in special session at 6 p.m. May 1 to reorganize in the wake of the April 9 elections. An open seat on the board will be filled by appointment after the May 1 meeting.