School board studies pay-to-play

Slowly but steadily, the Central Kitsap School District’s Budget Development Team is working with an integrated priority list to help balance the 2007-08 school year budget and beyond.

To help close the budget deficit for the 2007-08 school year, the Co-Curricular Sub-Committee, devised of principals, athletic/activity directors, parents and students, has been studying the possibility of having a pay-to-play program, requiring students to pay a certain dollar amount for each activity they participate in.

With a goal of trying to reduce expenditures while maintaining a strong co-curricular program, the Co-Curricular Sub-Committee developed a list of cost-saving options including a $50 charge for junior high and a $75 fee for high school per sport. Other options include eliminating junior high baseball and fast pitch, eliminating high school dance teams or charging a lesser fee for junior high and high school participation.

CKSD Executive Director of Secondary Education Katharine Gleysteen said if the second option of charging $50 at the junior high level and $75 in high school is approved by the school board, multiple-activity students would only pay for two seasons, a maximum of $100 for junior high and $150 for high school. After students have paid for two sport seasons, they will not have to pay for a third or fourth one. Gleysteen added that option two would have a potential generation of $175,000.

Gleysteen said low-income families with students wishing to participate in co-curricular activities will be given a free and reduced lunch discount.

“We’ve been talking about this for a long time,” said CKSD Superintendent Greg Lynch during Wednesday night’s school study session. “Option two (charging $50, $75) seems to be our best option.”

CKSD board member Bruce Richards said he has experienced positive feedback from the community regarding the pay-to-play prices.

After spending the 2006-07 school year studying athletics, the Co-Curricular Sub-Committee will spend the 2007-08 school year studying district activity programs. If the board approves the option to eliminate junior high fastpitch and baseball, all dance teams and require a pay-to-play program of $50 for junior high and $75 for high school, the net reduction could reach $240,000. Co-curricular cuts were set at No. 18 of the integrated priority list of 30.

Along with co-curricular savings, recommendations to cut technology spending also were proposed. Included in these options was to cut two full-time network specialist positions and one enterprise systems engineer position, saving a potential $144,770. The overall recommendation was for technology resources to be cut by $250,000, a number that could change depending on funding from the state which will be announced Tuesday from the Office of the Superintendent in Olympia.

“The district gets no money from the state for technology,” said Paul McNeill, CKSD director of business and operations.

McNeill said the Legislature has voted to provide schools with technology money based on a funding formula. The school district is hoping to receive an estimated figure of $20 million for elementary through high school technology needs.

Some of the issues presented by Janet Harris, CKSD director of technology services, included the lifecycle replacement times for the current equipment and updating software programs.

Lynch said the technology model the district currently has is fairly mature and they need to discuss technology issues at a broader range before making any decisions.

Although no final decisions regarding the integrated priority budget list have been made, the preliminary budget presentation by Lynch to the board will be Wednesday, June 23. The final budget decision, made by CKSD board members, will be on Wednesday, Aug. 8.

There will be a community feedback budget forum at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 23, in the Jenne-Wright Administration Center. The next regularly scheduled board meeting is from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 9, in the Jenne-Wright Administration Center with a special study session before, beginning at 5 p.m.

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