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Newton School Committee cuts student fees

2013 June 18
by Village 14

From boston.com

After more than an hour of discussion, the committee voted to eliminate the high school student activity fee entirely, making activities such as newspaper, ping pong, and mock trial free to participate in, though sports and drama will still require fees. The committee also reduced the total amount of fees a family can be expected to pay from $1,800 to $1,200.

Committee members lowered the parking fee for Newton South students from $360 to $310, and reduced the grade four and five instrumental music fee and All City Music fee from $200 to $150. Students who pay the grade four and five instrumental music fee will no longer be required to pay the All City Fee also.

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5 Responses Post a comment
  1. Mike Striar permalink
    June 18, 2013 04:32 PM

    One small step in the right direction.

  2. Hoss permalink
    June 18, 2013 04:59 PM

    Well, my instinct is that it’s impossible under budgeting constraints to add new programs when you offer a cheaper fee structure than competitive districts, but I see it’s a reasonable $135,000 they cut. That’s not the end of the world financially. (Of course this will come full circle in a few years)

  3. Native Newtonian permalink
    June 21, 2013 11:43 AM

    I wonder why there is a fee to take part in theatre since they also charge the patrons who come to see the shows? My favorite was being charged a fee for my daughter to be in an a cappella group which did NOT rehearse on school property and did NOT have a faculty advisor, and one where my daughter spent her own money to buy arrangements for the group. I questioned it and was told simply that it was the way it was so pay…..never paid it……and no one came after me.

  4. JLF permalink
    June 21, 2013 04:04 PM

    @Native Newtonian, maybe you can verify what I was told about the NewTones, assuming that is the acapella group that you mentioned. The group was upset about the fee, so left the school, and held meetings in private homes. It’s fine if they want to meet in private, but there was a question about how new students would find out and if they would be able to join. Newton South at this point, does not have a faculty advisor, and does not support groups that meet off campus. I may have been misinformed, but I was told that a fee for the group couldn’t be collected, because they took themselves off campus. Now that the high school activity fee has been eliminated for next year, I hope that the acapella group returns to campus, so that new students will be able to find out about it and join.

    The drama fee is another topic. For years, the athletic teams have been paying fees, and the arts/drama groups have not. I’m not so thrilled with it, because I have two kids participating in 5 shows, so I’m paying $150.00 per show.
    I just want to let others know that the fees charged to attend the plays are very low, $8-$14 at South, and barely cover costumes, professional musicians, outside directors, make up, sets. If you look around at Wellesley, Wayland, Framingham, Natick, it’s not unusual to find ticket prices at $20 and up.

    The theatre arts budget has been slashed at South, and the kids and parents have been running fundraisers to help purchase a new stage curtain ($5000+), new acoustic equipment, and better projection. It’s pretty amazing the quality of the performances with staff cuts and no budget line for necessary replacement of aging equipment.

    It’s not fun to pay fees for drama, but there is a very generous waiver program if you talk to the business office.

  5. Native Newtonian permalink
    June 24, 2013 04:10 PM

    JLF, just noticing your post. My child’s group was at NNHS. They did recruit and audition on school grounds so never had a problem with new kids becomng interested. I’m surprised that the Newtones would have any trouble given their stellar reputation!

    Yeah, you are right about the ticket cost being insufficient to really run a quality theatre department. The parents also do a lot of fundraising at NNHS. With my child’s level of performance activity, we ended up owing the max each of the two years we had to pay. She has since graduated, and I must say that my experiences as a “theatre mom” were fabulous – cooking huge cast dinners and delivering them to grateful kids…fundraising with other enthusiastic parents….great sense of community. So while the theatre fees are a pain in the “pocket”, we are lucky to have quality programs here in Newton. I am sure its the same way at South! Enjoy- we now have to drive for 6 hours to see her in a production so I miss just driving down the street!!

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