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Facing School Fees

Students line the halls to pay fees before and after school.

Photo by Photo by McCade Gordon.

Students line the halls to pay fees before and after school.

Rachel Quigley, Motherlode Editor

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According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a child born in 2011 will cost parents around $235,000 from birth to adulthood. Factoring in sports, extracurricular activities, accidents, school dances, gas, parking tickets, birthdays, and additional wants makes this number overwhelming to those who have the unfortunate responsibility of taking care of current teenagers. Even more surprising is the amount of money dedicated to a public education.

Over the summer, Bingham students were mailed an envelope containing information regarding fees for the upcoming school year. Registration alone cost $105 with optional PTSA donations and Yearbook purchases. Once school begins, additional fees are required in classes such as woods, ceramics, theatre, band, and even science.

AP Chemistry requires a $35.00 fee that buys the night-school credit for after school labs. Ms. Deborah Brown, science teacher here at Bingham High School, believes that it is fair to ask a student to pay this money. She said, “Students are doing college-level work and need to have as close to a college course experience as I can give them…the lab fees allow us to do labs that enhance student learning.”

However, advanced placement students are not alone in their payment of school fees. Michelle Robbins’ theatre students are expected to pay $25.00 for Musical Theatre and a $70.00 fee for Theatre 3. While not a required fee, Jaime James’ art students are advised to purchase an “art kit” from the school at a lower cost. The supplies are 40%-50% off with no tax charged.

James said, “The main advantage of purchasing art kits through the school is the savings…the painting 1 kit is $65.00 through Bingham. The retail total, if students go purchase at Hobby Lobby, is $136.58.”

But no matter how you look at it, a student participating in many of these electives may end up paying above two or even three hundred dollars for fees alone.

Music teacher Jim Thompson said, “Public education system can’t pay for everything- some things require special fees.” They are a necessary injustice. No matter how badly the Jordan School district might want to, they simply cannot afford to pay for every student’s paintbrushes and crayons.

According to Dr. Price, Vice-Principal for Bingham high school, each child is worth about $6300 to the Jordan School district in what is known as a weighted pupil unit (WPU). Money is paid by the parents of each student, given to the district, and then placed into what Dr. Price calls, “the pot.”

“The money kind of funnels down,” said Dr. Price. These payments are later redistributed to where they are needed most throughout the district. However, with %15 of Bingham students and about %50 of West Jordan students on fee waivers, it is possible that some parents will end up supporting the students of other schools.

“A free public education has never been provided to the citizens of Utah,” said CTE teacher Pat McDonald. Ultimately the district will distribute the fee money to the best of their ability. Rest assured that your registration fee was used wisely and did not fund the new iPads of several teachers.

 

 

 

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Facing School Fees