After 20 years with the same uniforms, the Riverside-Brookfield High School marching band is finally going to get new ones. At its April 8 meeting, the District 208 Board of Education unanimously approved spending about $56,400 to buy 152 new band uniforms, which will replace the uniforms purchased in 1994.

To help pay for the new uniforms, the fee to participate in the band will be raised to $100 from the current $25. The fee increase generated some discussion among board members but ultimately the board decided to approve the fee increase. 

The $100 fee is the same as the fee paid by participants in competitive club activities at RBHS.

“The band should pay something similar,” said District 208 superintendent Kevin Skinkis. “The district should front the money to purchase the band uniforms and then by collecting this fee the band uniforms will pay themselves off in about the next 10 or 11 years, right about when it’s time to repurchase uniforms. So if we can get a revolving account for the band uniforms, that won’t become a problem.”

If the fee increase had not been approved, band members would have had to raise at least half the cost of the new uniforms.

“After speaking with some of the parents and even with some of the sponsors, a majority of your parents would rather pay the $75 or the new $100 fee than have to sell $300 of cookie dough or bread or the [discount] cards,” Skinkis said. “I think it will work itself here so the kids can get the band uniforms a lot quicker.” 

Board member Tim Walsh was convinced.

“I can live with the $100 fee,” Walsh said before the vote.

Board member Laura Hruska initially was skeptical of the fee increase, saying that band was a class, not an activity.

But since the band uniforms are used by the marching band for performances outside of class, at home football games and parade appearances, Hruska ultimately was convinced to vote in favor of the increase. 

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