RTSD26 Student Fees Philosophy
It is the philosophy of the Board of Education that fees are applied to various optional and enhancement components of the educational program. The revenue generated by these fees allows the District to provide more and better services than it otherwise would be capable of providing. District 26 applies fees for transportation, materials, technology, pre-kindergarten, and food services. Additionally, fees are assessed throughout the year for specific activities including field trips and special programs. The charging of fees is permissible by law and District 26 has joined the ranks of most districts whose dependence on fees has increased in recent years. The Board of Education has attempted to balance each fee against its potential impact on educational goals and objectives.
Annually, the administration prepares a recommendation for fees. The Board Finance Committee presents this recommendation to the Board of Education. The recommendation includes the specific fees to be charged, the amounts to be charged, an aggregate estimate of collections, and a timeline. The district has a practice of collecting 100% of fees assessed. Fees not collected are forwarded to a collection agency. Waivers are granted to those families experiencing financial hardships.
The overall change in fees is influenced by a number of considerations including:
- Changes in the cost of delivering existing fee-based services
- Overall revenue shortfall in the expected budget
- Changes in other revenue sources
- New or enhanced student services
- Level of fees and subsidies in other districts
The Board of Education is sensitive to the impact that fees have on parents and attempts to balance the percentage increase in fees (in aggregate and per student) with the overall financial and educational goals for the District.
River Trails School District 26 provides transportation to students living more than .5 miles from school or having to cross a state designated hazard. Students requesting transportation pay a fee for these services to offset some of the costs.
School District 26 offers integrated special needs and typical peers pre-school. Typical peers are charged a fee that is in line with other neighboring pre-school programs.
The Board charges student fees set at different levels for kindergarten-fifth grade, and sixth-eighth grade. These fees help to defray the expense for consumable classroom materials such as science and math supplies. In addition, the Board charges fees for certain items such as recorders, locks, and gym uniforms at the actual cost of the item. Individual student supplies are to be purchased independently using the school list provided from each school.
The use of technology in the delivery of educational programming continues to grow. As such tools have become an increasingly important component of learning, the Board includes this fee as part of the Materials and Technology Fee, which helps the District to fund technology to ensure children receive a world-class education that is supported by technology.
The district provides an extensive lunch and breakfast program for students. Lunch, breakfast and milk fees are designed in coordination with state and federal subsidies to cover the full cost of the program.
Field trips are required of students in several curriculum subjects. Parents may be charged for the actual cost of the trip (excluding transportation) in the days before the field trip takes place. Costs vary depending on the extent of the trip.