Janesville18.1°

Lunch costs up; fees for athletics unchanged—so far

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
April 23, 2008
— The Janesville School Board raised lunch prices for next year but didn’t raise athletics fees at its meeting Tuesday.

The issue of athletics fees appears unsettled, however, with several board members interested in changing the current rate of $50 per sport.


Board member Tim Cullen asked the administration two weeks ago to come up with budget cuts to avoid increases in the cost of lunch, high school sporting event tickets or athletics fees.


Cullen was concerned about the effect of rising costs on families, but other board members were convinced the lunch program needed the added income.


The board voted 8-1, with only Cullen opposed, to raise lunch prices by 15 cents at the elementary and middle schools and 25 cents at the high schools. Elementary milk prices also rise by 5 cents in September.


The board Tuesday voted 7-2 to cut the district’s lobbyist and to cut some outside speakers brought in to train staff for a combined savings of $20,000. That amount will pay Janesville’s portion of a new co-op girls hockey program.


Former Parker High School teacher John Eyster has been the district’s lobbyist for nearly eight years.


Voting against the cuts were Lori Stottler and Bill Sodemann. Both wanted to raise athletics fees instead.


Stottler had analyzed costs and revenues from all the high school sports and proposed that some athletes pay extra because their sports cost the most per athlete.


While most athletes would continue to pay $50, Stottler proposed these surcharges: $100 for swim and wrestling, $200 for boys and girls basketball and girls golf, and $300 for gymnastics and boys and girls hockey.


Stottler also proposed that students pay a fee of $25 to be members of school clubs.


Cullen said Stottler’s idea would mean that only those who could afford to play those sports would do so, and parents who couldn’t afford the high fees would push their children into the cheaper sports, something unheard of in Janesville for 100 years.


The board delayed action on a third cost increase. The administration had proposed raising ticket prices at athletic contests from $3 to $5 for adults and from $2 to $3 for students.


The increased revenue, about $40,000, was to be earmarked to pay for uniform replacements in the athletics budget. Uniform replacement money was eliminated in a previous round of budget cuts.


As an alternative to ticket price hikes, the administration proposed cutting its insurance consultant, saving $36,000. The board voted 7-2 against that plan. Bailey and Cullen were the only ones voting in favor.


The ticket price hike is expected to come up at a future board meeting.


Big Eight Conference schools are considering making the $5 adult/$3 student ticket cost standard at all contests, athletics director Kevin Porter said. The school board could decide not to go that route, however.


Board President Debra Kolste suggested that the board would deal with the ticket issue after the Big Eight representatives meet.


OTHER BUSINESS

In other business Tuesday, the Janesville School Board:


-- Set a reorganization meeting for 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Educational Services Center, 527 S. Franklin St. Debra Kolste said Tuesday would be her last meeting as board president.


-- Heard a final speech from outgoing board member Todd Bailey. He suggested two things for the board to consider: Instituting a “stipend” for board members and having a non-voting high school student representative on the board. Earlier in the meeting, Bailey also suggested the board remove the constraints placed on sports booster fund-raising and advertising.


-- Accepted the retirements of Paula DeRubeis, kindergarten teacher at Harrison School, 23.5 years with the district; Daniel Littlejohn, fifth-grade teacher at Washington School, 35 years; Heather Littlejohn, third-grade teacher at Roosevelt School, 25 years; and Steve Redenius, agribusiness teacher at Parker High School, 33 years.


-- Accepted the resignation of Jane Brewer, an English teacher at Parker High School, after three years in the district.



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