To the editor:
I have grave concerns with the increased costs and extracurricular program cutbacks that will take place this school year. I currently have a child that will be attending junior high in Lawrence, and I'm alarmed that our elected officials would opt such measures to be taken. Following a brief discussion with the board of education, I came away with the following information.
Fees will increase from $57 to $162 per student. Pay-to-ride has been instituted for any child who wishes to ride the bus to and from school and lives less than 2.5 miles from their school, for a cost of $240 due by July 15. After July 15 the cost rose to $260 per child. School meals are increased from $1 to $1.10 and $1.70 to $1.85 for lunch. Enrollment fees from $25 covering all sports, to $50 per sport. Total fees: $422; adding one sport and lunch will be another $383. Grand total: $805.
My biggest concerns: increased financial hardship on parents, increased danger for children now forced to walk to school, increased tardiness and truancy and higher fees for fewer available activities.
Sports programs are being discriminately cut in half, leaving less opportunity for most kids to participate; yet the activity fee has doubled.
The board of education indicated fee increases are due to budget cuts, however education suffered no immediate cuts and received a $20 increase per pupil. No other surrounding districts have levied such drastic increases. Let's not place the expense of salary increases and inflated costs on those that are already faced with loss of jobs, furloughs and pay cuts. The families of Lawrence will incur a $365 increase. Where does this all stop?
Sonya M. Johnson,