SHELBY -- With the start of the new school year just about a month away, officials have some good news for Shelby families when it comes to pocketbook issues.
The Shelby Board of Education voted 4-0 at its July 15 meeting to eliminate student instructional fees and athletic transportation fees for grades kindergarten through 12 for the 2021-22 school year.
“The reason we did that is we all know we feel that particularly coming out of the (coronavirus) pandemic, and there are some families that continue to struggle,” Tarvin said.
He said he had attended a meeting earlier in the day when the topic was brought up involving “those families in not just Shelby, but in Richland County and the Crawford County area” that “are still hurting economically, trying to get their feet on the ground.”
“We feel that this is a step that we can take to alleviate some of that financial burden that parents and families run into at the beginning of every school year,” Tarvin said.
“That price tag that parents are met with in that first week of school can be staggering with regard to whether it’s school fees if you have a child in art, a child in this class and that class,” he said. “You add the (athletic) transportation fee on top of that.”
Shelby School Board President Lorie White also mentioned costs associated with school supplies, shoes and lunches.
Tarvin said: “From my perspective, it’s the responsible thing to do that our board of education is doing for the families of this community to help them out, to help them bridge their financial struggles so that their kids then experience the benefit of that, as well.”
“I am sure there’s probably some kids who say, ‘No I can’t take that class because I can’t afford the fee,’” Tarvin added. “Mom or dad, they don’t want to dissuade their son or daughter from doing that, but I’m sure it’s happened in the past. By eliminating the fee, I just think it’s the right thing to do.”
White, the school board president, said it feels as though the district has talked for years about eliminating the fees as it determined the right time to do it.
“We’re fortunate to be in a financial position where we can do it this year,” she said, adding that it would be re-evaluated every year to see where the district is at.
“I’m glad we finally made the decision to go forth with that,” White said of the action.
All other payments such as club and Chromebook fees, as well as class dues, will remain in place, according to the meeting’s agenda. “Fees will be reviewed annually and subsequent decisions will be based upon district student/family demographics and district financial projections,” the agenda item stated.
Tarvin noted that class dues are “very minimal” at $6 or $7. “By them contributing their class dues, it provides them opportunities then whether it’s Homecoming” or other items down the road, he said.
After the meeting, school district Treasurer Beth Lykins provided an estimate of how much the waived student instructional/transportation fees would amount to for the Shelby school district.
This past school year, it totaled about $48,000. “It varies because of the number of kids enrolled, what classes they are going to take, how many are in sports,” Lykins quickly added.
Tarvin said a flat fee was involved for the middle school on down. The high school, however, is where such fees come into greater play. “If you’re taking three or four classes, and they all have a $30 or $40 fee, all of the sudden, it adds up pretty quickly,” Tarvin said.
“There are some families that walk out of here hundreds of dollars lighter in their pockets after they’ve paid all their fees,” he added.
Aug. 17 is the first day of school for students in the Shelby district.
The July 15 school board meeting was the fourth in four weeks for the Shelby Board of Education. School Board members in attendance were White, Scott Rose, Carl Ridenour and Lynn Friebel. Check the Shelby Daily Globe for upcoming coverage of other topics covered at the latest meeting.