2022-23 SPASD student fee changes

The Sun Prairie School Board only increased three fees, dropped two and left others — including parking fees for Sun Prairie high schools and athletics — as they currently are.

The Sun Prairie School Board on Dec. 20 learned about the district’s new course offerings and authorized a few slightly higher fees but left the Sun Prairie high school parking fee as it currently exists for the 2022-23 school year.

Fee increases

Sarah Chaja-Clardy, Sun Prairie Area School District Director of Secondary Teaching, Learning and Equity, told the board that it is possible that fees for non-academic fee structures may be adjusted as part of the budget review process, which begins in early 2022.

If a course fee requires updating, the student fees schedule will be brought back to the school board for approval.

Most fees were left as they were for the 2021-22 school year, according to Chaja-Clardy. In fact, two fees — a $5 lock fee for eighth graders and a sixth grader $10 Young Living fee — were eliminated.

At present, the athletic fees will remain the same for the 2022-23 school year.

The College Board has increased the fee for an AP exam by $1 for the second consecutive year. The AP Biology fee increased due to field trip costs. The fee for locks at 8th grade and the 6th grade Young Living course have been removed since both are required.

In a memo to the board, Chaja-Clardy pointed out the majority of fees are paid online which eliminates the handling of cash and reduces secretarial time devoted to fees. She said only five key differences exist in fee changes or increases.

With the exception of Behind the Wheel (driver training), which is payable to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, a course and activity fee waiver may be requested for students who qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Referring to the parking fee at Sun Prairie East High School, Sun Prairie School Board Member Caren Diedrich noted the fee is not changing for the 2022-23 school year.

“I’ll speak for the students by by saying thank you for not raising the fee,” Diedrich said.

SPASD Director of Business & Finance Phil Frei said the current fee is $60 per year.

“We looked at that four to five years ago — we’re one of the lower ones,” Frei told the board, referring to Sun Prairie among its Dane County neighbors. The fee is used to help pay for the City of Sun Prairie’s stormwater utility management fee charged for impervious surfaces.

When asked what the fee is for the SPASD, Frei replied, “I don’t know. It’s substantial.”

Course changes

Chaja-Clardy said each year the curriculum is reviewed under the leadership of steering committee members. New courses are proposed in alignment with our Curriculum Renewal and Design Cycle and existing courses are modified (see the complete list of new courses as an attachment with the online version of this story at sunprairiestar.com).

The purpose is to refine or enhance the SPASD’s scope and sequence, and these revisions are developed within departments or grade levels. Throughout the summer and fall of 2021, curriculum leaders and their department members worked to review current course offerings across grades 6-12.

Several course modification requests were created based on the department’s work over the summer and early fall. On Oct. 22, staff who teach grades 9-12 met to discuss appropriate grade-level reconfigurations for course offerings.

Throughout the first quarter of this school year, the SPASD gathered input from the art, health, physical education, world languages, agriculture, and music staff at grades 6-8 to finalize course offerings at SPASD middle schools.

Each proposal was discussed individually and feedback was solicited. The group voted to move ahead with each proposal presented, or conversely recommend to revisit proposals for additional information. All modifications captured in the charts will be reflected in the 2022-23 course guides.

“In general, I think this is great work and well-presented,” Sun Prairie School Board Clerk Carol Albright, a retired foreign language teacher, told Chaja-Clardy.

The course changes were for board information only and not subject to approval by the board, according to Sun Prairie School Board President Steve Schroeder, because they are an administrative team decision.

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