|Updated: 9/12/2012 9:19 am
||Published: 9/11/2012 8:36 pm
On Tuesday, FOX23 talked with the principal of Skiatook High School and a class sponsor at the school who both say students, parents, and the community were worn out doing fundraisers to cover special events for students.
That is why the decided to present the School Board with the idea of a yearly payment of $25 per year per student to cover the funds that would otherwise be raised through fundraisers.
After seeing many upset students and residents in a story that aired last week on FOX23, they admit they might have to tweak the class fee a little bit to make sure everyone is happy.
Skiatook senior Josh Sinkhorn didn't hold back when asked about class fundraisers.
“Fundraisers are a pain in the butt,” he said.
Administrators at Skiatook say that's why they instituted the $25 class fee.
“Our intent was to make it easier on the parents,” Principal Donna Brogan told FOX23.
Class sponsor Karla Crawford says the money for the class fee doesn't go toward classroom expenses; instead, it goes toward the cost of special events.
“We put the prom on their junior year, and then we have the senior dinner and the senior assembly, and then we have graduation. All of that (is put on with) money that that class raises,” Crawford said.
This year, class sponsors like Crawford asked for the class fee because students seemed to be collecting money for one fundraiser after another.
“Before to pay for all of this, we had to do eight to ten fundraisers over the course of four years,” she said.
Some in the Skiatook community didn't like the idea when FOX23 spoke to them last week.
“It's not that much money, but it's the principle behind it, I just don't think they should be charging kids to go to the public school system,” Robert Lee said on Thursday.
Brogan admits, some may not understand exactly what the fee is used for, and that could be because of its name.
“Probably, I could have done a better job of explaining what it's for, and we talked about renaming the fee to an activity fee of some sort, a class activity fee.”
Ryan Kiesel, and attorney and Executive Director of the ACLU of Oklahoma, does not think the fee is legal. He says a big red flag is that students can't get their report cards if they don't pay, even though the fee isn't connected to academics.
“They've tied it to academic expenses by saying if you don't pay this fee, we're going to withhold your records, and they’re going to consider it a debt to the school,” Kiesel told FOX23.
The district also says students who don't pay the fee can't participate in graduation exercises. Brogan explained class fees pay for almost all of the district's graduation cost like flowers, graduation dinner, and other activities.
“I think we need to do a better job of communicating that, so we may need to go back on the website and reword some of that,” she said.
Principal Brogan says the fee is only mandatory for families who can afford to pay it. Kiesel says that's a positive step, but he still thinks fees like this aren't what public education is all about.
“We shouldn't be placing fees in front of these of parents, these schools are for everyone of all incomes.”