Sun Prairie Area School District students will be getting an unwanted holiday gift: A few higher student fees for the 2021-22 school year. That’s because of annual action to review fees taken Monday, Dec. 21 by the Sun Prairie School Board included administration-recommended fee increases.
Sun Prairie School Board Policy JN, Student Fees and Fines, establishes the authority of the SPASD to enact fees and fines under certain conditions. Procedure JN-R, Student Fees and Fines, outlines the procedures to be followed to ensure Policy JN is enacted. Procedure JN-R calls for a list of student fees to be presented to the School Board for approval no later than Dec. 31 annually.
Sarah Chaja-Clardy, Director of Secondary Teaching, Learning and Equity, explained in a memo to the board that during the 2020-21 school year, fees were waived for courses that did not utilize consumable materials due to the COVID-19 pandemic and distance learning.
For the 2021-22 school year, the preliminary Student Fees Schedule is recommended for approval.
“It is possible that fees for non-academic fee structures may be adjusted as part of the budget review process, which begins in early 2021,” Chaja-Clardy wrote in the memo. “If a course fee requires updating, the student fees schedule will be brought back to the school board for approval. At present, the athletic fees will remain the same for the 2021-22 school year.”
Fees for the Advanced Placement (AP) exam increased by $1 from $94 to $95 and an Advanced Automotive Certifications fee increased from $0 to $10. Fees for middle school band, choir and orchestra shirts increased from $12-18.50 to $20.
Chaja-Clardy explained the variance in middle school band, orchestra, and choir shirts is due to the department electing to purchase one durable shirt for all music studies, so families need only purchase one shirt for their student, even if they are participating in multiple disciplines. This will reduce the quantity of shirts families need to purchase for middle school music students.
Due to the need for sports officiants, WIAA will cover a significant portion of the Sports Officiating fee for any student who elects to take the class, which accounts for the fee decreasing from $80 to $25.
Most fees are paid online during registration, which eliminates the handling of cash and reduces secretarial time devoted to fees. With the exception of 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.
The fee schedule (see the online version of this story at sunprairiestar.com) states most fees can be waived for families who qualify for free and reduced lunch, and that fee waivers may be found in the Online Registration information. A verbal waiver may also be completed by calling the SPASD Nutrition Department at 608-834-6500.
As part of the Superintendent’s Consent Agenda, the board approved the 2019-20 Financial Audit.
The SPASD received a positive auditor’s report. On page ii, the audit report states: “In our opinion, the financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the respective financial position of the governmental activities, the business-type activities, each major fund, and the aggregate remaining fund information of the District, as of June 30, 2020, and the respective changes in financial position, and, where applicable, cash flows thereof for the year then ended in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.”
A representative from Johnson Block & Company, LLC virtually attended the meeting to answer questions (a copy of the financial summary report is available with the online version of this article at sunprairiestar.com).
Individuals who would like a printed copy of the audit or have questions should contact the Director of Business & Finance, Phil Frei at 608-834-6510.