The Debate on Fees: School Comm. to Debate Athletic Registration Fee; State Does Not Award Elt Grants to Local Schools

Thursday, July 19, 2012
By Joe Domelowicz

Superintendent of Schools John Macero confirmed this week that the School Committee is likely to debate a proposal to establish a one-time per year Athletic User Registration fee of $50 on Thursday night, following a sometimes heated discussion and tabling of the same motion at the previous meeting last month.

“That is really the only item I see on the agenda that I expect will get a lot of discussion,” said Macero. “For the most part, the agenda is really just updates on other issues at this point in the year.”

“At this point, it looks like the committee will consider the establishment of a registration fee, but is not considering raising the per sport user fee.

The proposal was raised by School Committee member William Holden, chairman of the committee’s Athletics Subcommittee, who proposed the registration fee as part of a dual move to both return some of the funding for the athletic department to the school department budget and help the athletic department be more self-sufficient.

During the School Committee’s previous meeting on June 28, Holden explained that the proposal was his idea and that the subcommittee as a whole had not voted on the matter, but would let it go forward to the full committee for a vote.

The School Committee has already established a budget of $414,000 for the Athletics Department, of which $228,000 will come directly from the school budget on a recommendation from Superintendent Macero and the remainder being raise din Athletics/Activity User Fees, gate receipts and various other revenues sources available to the athletics department, such as licensing agreements, etc.

On the request of the full School Committee to look at raising the user fee from its current $225 level, the Athletic Subcommittee held a meeting to fund away to return some of the $228,000 to the School Department, and still remain fully funded in the coming year.

Holden’s solution would return $28,000 to the school department budget and raise $14,000 of that by establishing the registration family, which would apply to each family with a student athlete only once per year, rather than raise the fee, which could impact families for each sport and for each student.

At the June 28 meeting, Holden told the committee that he estimated the program could conservatively raise $14,000 for the athletics budget and that the other $14,000 would be trimmed form the budget by Athletic Director Peter Gobiel, essentially giving the Athletic Department a $400,000 budget with half of that coming from the school department budget.

If the Holden proposal is not approved, the budget would stand at $414,000, with $228,000 coming from the school department, unless some other alternative is proposed and adopted.

Winthrop left out in ELT awards

In a letter and email to School Department officials and school building leaders, Superintendent John Macero announced this week that the three Extended Learning Time grant proposals put forward by Winthrop all were denied by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education this week.

“I am sorry to officially inform you that only two schools were selected for ELT and none of our schools were chosen,” Macero’s message began. “The reason given was we do not have enough need! I assume when we are compared to Fall River, Brockton, Revere and Lawrence then (that) would be the case. The two schools selected were Brockton and Revere.”

Macero confirmed to the paper that the winning schools had not only developed plans to extend the school day, but had also included an extension of the school year in their proposals.

“I think that had something to do with the success of their proposals as well,” added the superintendent.
“I want to applaud all involved. I was extremely proud of our proposals and the energy and time that each committee put into it. Your committees did an outstanding job creating unique opportunities for our schools. I am hopeful that you will be able to input some of these opportunities in the future regardless of ELT. Thank you all for your commitment to Winthrop.”

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