The parents of students at George Washington Middle School won’t have to cough up any money for gym uniforms or calculators next year, thanks to a vote by the Lyons-Brookfield School District 103 Board of Education.
On May 28, the board voted 4 to 3 to eliminate three small fees for middle school students next year, but decided to leave the district’s $54 registration fee intact. The board majority rejected the administration’s recommendation to continue a $17 calculator fee, a $10 P.E. T-shirt fee and $10 gym shorts fee.
Voting to eliminate those fees were board president Jorge Torres and new board members Vito Campanile, Olivia Quintero and Winifred Rodriguez.
Sharon Anderson, Marge Hubacek and Shannon Johnson voted against the measure, because they felt all fees should be eliminated or none of them should be. Those three said that because a substantial majority of students in District 103 have fees waived because they qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.
“You’re making a small minority of parents pay this [registration] fee,” Anderson said.
Johnson said that she wanted to eliminate all fees.
“People who are on free lunch don’t pay anything, people on reduced lunch pay half, but people who make money and don’t qualify, they’re the ones who have to pay the whole thing and that’s not fair,” Johnson said. “You have to pay the whole thing because you don’t qualify for assistance, but if you didn’t work then you wouldn’t have to pay anything.”
Hubacek said that she voted no for similar reasons but added that the board majority couldn’t say how much revenue would be lost by eliminating the three fees.
Superintendent Kristopher Rivera said that he didn’t have an estimate of how much revenue would be lost because the fees were eliminated.
Last year, the school board eliminated the $100 band and orchestra fee because they didn’t feel it was proper to charge fees for a class. Last year, the board also eliminated the $30 fee for basketball, cheerleading and other interscholastic activities at GWMS.