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School fees set to increase

"It will cost athletes this school year more to participate in fall sports, which begin next Monday with the opening day of practice.The South Whidbey School Board will likely raise the athletic participation fee to $35, up $5 from last year. The maximum for a family during the school year will be $100 regardless of how many sports their children participate in.The high school athletic fee isn't popular but has been retained after being implemented during a budget crisis years ago. I'd like to get rid of the athletic fee, Principal Mike Johnson told the board. One way to do that, he said, is by increasing gate revenue with winning programs. Check the Mariners out.Watching athletics will also be more expensive. The all-sport family pass will increase to $100 from $75. Admission to games may also increase one dollar, pending action by North Cascades Conference officials.Johnson presented the proposed fee hikes to a workshop session of the school board Monday. Jim Adsley, board president, spoke of the need to be sensitive to lower income families, but voiced no objection to the fee increases.The board can't take action on the fees until its regular meeting Aug. 27, but athletes will still have to pay them when they sign up for sports this week. Johnson said if the board should decide against the increases, the extra money would be refunded to the athletes.Artists as well as athletes will be paying more to participate this year. The fee for Ceramics & Sculpture I goes from $15 to $30; Ceramics & Sculpture II from $15 to $25; Drawing & Design I from $20 to $25; and Drawing & Design II from $15 to $25.The largest proposed fee hike is in traffic safety education, which will skyrocket from $100 last year to at least $237 this year. The move follows the decision by the state Legislature to cut back on how much it funds driver education costs.The fee schedule also includes a new charge of $15 for use of the student parking lot, but the school board remains undecided on the issue. Why generate revenue without any specific purpose? asked Adsley. The fee would be $20 for those without an ASB card. ASB cards this year will cost $20, the same as last year.Johnson said the school's student leadership proposed the parking fee as a way to guarantee packing spaces. They want a space in the parking lot, he said. They're tired of getting aced out and driving around.Johnson said more research on the issue needs to be done before the board is asked to approve a parking fee. I don't know if it's actually going to happen, he said. "

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