District 26 keeps registration fees flat

CARY – For the third consecutive year, School District 26 plans to keep registration fees the same, except for a $5 increase for sixth-graders.

The fees were discussed Monday at the district’s finance committee meeting and are scheduled to be voted on by the school board next week.

“Registration fees are not a means to resolve revenue shortages,” Director of Finance and Operations T. Ferrier wrote in a district memo.

The district expects to bring in $374,000 in student registration fees.

“The bottom line is given the economic situation of not only the district and the taxpayers within the district, it’s our recommendation to keep the fees flat,” Ferrier said Monday. If the district raised it based on the Consumer Price Index, he said, “It would only bring in $10,000 to $12,000 [more], and that would come more than likely at a hardship on our taxpayers.”

Chris Jenner, who voted last month against an increase in the district’s annual tax levy, said the same justification could have been used to keep property taxes flat.

The sixth-grade fee is proposed to increase to $218 from $213 for the 2013-14 school year. The increase will put it in line with seventh- and eighth-grade fees, as suggested by board member Kevin Carrick.

Fees cover a portion of the costs of consumable costs, such as textbooks, classroom materials, equipment, supplies, technology and software.

The district estimates that for next school year it has more than $1 million in consumable supply costs.

“I know we can afford it now, but are we setting ourselves up for a problem down the road by only covering a third of the consumable costs,” board member Jason Larry said.

Superintendent Brian Coleman said District 26 is at the high end of registration fees in the county and that no district uses fees to cover the full costs of supplies and materials.

Ferrier said most of the expenditures that fees pay for are required costs. “We’ve already brought down our supply expenses down to the very minimum,” Ferrier said.

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