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PE School Activity Fees Okayed

PRINCE EDWARD – County school board members approved for 2010-11 class activity fees at their August meeting.

At the middle school, students are charged a $1 fee for lockers in gym; National Junior Honor Society students have a $1 fee for each month (with funds used to pay for tee-shirts and other items they may need or for things they may do during the school year); physical education teachers began selling uniforms to students for class ($15 per set or $8 each for shorts or shirt) with funds used to replenish the supply for the next school year; and students are issued an agenda book at the beginning of the year at no cost, but has a replacement cost of $5.

In addition, teachers order books for students or charge for field trips, with varied costs.

High school students have class dues for each grade level, beginning with the freshman class ($15). Sophomores chip in $25 dues, juniors $35, and seniors $60.

In addition, students who drive pay $10 for a parking decal. Other fees include $2 for locker rental, $80 for behind the wheel instruction for driver's education, and $5 for gym tee-shirts.

A speaker in the public comment segment of the July school board meeting asked the school board-if they had not already done so-to eliminate the requirement that the fee be paid in order for a student to participate in graduation. She also asked that the board consider allowing students to choose to participate in and pay for things of their choosing.

Class dues go to pay for such things as the prom, yearbooks, cap and gown, senior tee-shirt, and senior picnic.

Division Superintendent Dr. David Smith told board members that he understands the request to break them out separately, but offered that from an internal bookkeeping standpoint and tracking down the charges and payment for each individual item including homecoming, prom, yearbook, the robes for graduation, would be an incredible bookkeeping burden.

“I'd be hesitant to suggest that we break those out separately,” he told the board.

Dr. Odessa Pride reported that approximately $2,000 was left this year, which she cited was because there was not a senior trip. Usually, Ms. Pride speculated, it's under $500.

“…When you look at a yearbook being from $45, the cap and gown $20, and with the senior sponsor doing so many excellent activities for the students…$60 definitely covers (it),” Ms. Pride said.

Allowances are made, it was indicated, if a student can't afford the dues. Usually, people paid, Ms. Pride detailed, but if they did not have the money to pay, it was an administrative discussion “that was discussed with the parents and the student and everything was worked out.”

She was unaware that anyone was prevented from walking at graduation.

The school board approved the fees, with member Harriett Fentress opposing.

Health Insurance

The school board, following some discussion, agreed to allow board members to participate in the school's health insurance plan. The board determined that they are part-time employees, which means the schools would contribute $206 for a single under Key Advantage 250 option per month and $190.80 under the Key Advantage 500 option per month.

The schools chip in 80 percent of the cost for a single employee and 40 percent for a part-time worker.

The board approved the change on a split vote.

Governor's School

Prince Edward is still participating in the regional Governor's School, but there has been some difficulty filling slots. Director of Exceptional Programs Ellen Wood noted that they have gone down to five slots and, to that point, had only filled three.

Ms. Wood noted that she had 26 students and they ranked them to start offering. Fifteen turned them down. Many are choosing to stay in Prince Edward and take advanced placement courses. AP courses offer higher GPA potential with weighted grades.

Governor's School participants earn dual enrollment credit, although the program is more rigorous than dual enrollment courses. Governor's School participants can also graduate with an associate's degree.

In addition, Ms. Wood also reported that they have one senior returning to engineering and were waiting to hear from two students offered slots in the engineering program.

The school board effectively approved an arrangement where Cumberland will transport Prince Edward's children to the school at Southside Virginia Community College in Keysville. Cumberland (which transports their own students), Ms. Woods explains, has a full-time driver and Prince Edward, for its part, will chip in $550 per month to transport children participating in the engineering program and Governor's School.

(This is an abbreviated version of this article. For the full and complete article, please see Wednesday's edition of The Farmville Herald).