Unpaid school fees on the rise

By on March 26, 2010

by Susan O’Neill
KANELAND—Unpaid Kaneland School District fees have reached an all-time high this year, with $50,179 being equivalent to the cost of a full-time teacher.

Fees in arrears are highest at the high school level, where, including $17,596 from the previous year, a total of $42,040 remains unpaid for textbooks, driver’s education, book fines, sport and club fees, lunch fees and others.

While the administration recognizes that the unpaid fees do not represent a significant potential revenue source, it is important to note that the amount has an effect on the overall budget, Assistant Superintendent for Business Julie-Ann Fuchs said.

Several options brought forward by the administration were discussed by the board, including not allowing students to participate in extracurricular activities or school events until their fees are paid and requiring that all driver’s education fees be paid before the student would be allowed to participate in the behind-the-wheel training. However, board members said they were not comfortable with such restrictive measures at this time.

“The economy is going to be extremely difficult,” board member Bob Myers said. “A lot of people in our community have lost jobs, and a rising number of people will have a hard time paying their fees … It’s going to get worse before it gets better.”

While the schools do set up installment plans for families who are having trouble paying their fees, board members agreed that information about the plans are not as widely communicated as it could be.

“We need to be much more liberal in setting up payment plans,” Board President Lisa Wiet said.