CUSD raising fees for numerous activities, blames inflation - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

CUSD raising fees for numerous activities, blames inflation

May 24th, 2022 SanTan Sun News

By Ken Sain
Staff Writer

Schools are not immune to inflation and the parents of Chandler Unified School District students should expect to pay the price next year.

The CUSD Governing Board agreed to increase many of its fees for extracurricular activities at its May 11 meeting after CUSD Chief Financial Officer Lana Berry said the main reason is because of inflation.

“So salaries increased, benefits increase, and we also have an increase in supplies,” Berry said. “Pretty much, across the board, [there’s] a 4% increase on our community education fees.”

The changes impact scores of extra-curricular activity fees. Some examples:

• The instrument fee for either orchestra or marching band is going from $40 to $60 next year. It will rise again the following year to $80.

• The fee for the cabinetmaking course is rising from $25 to $35 because of the jump in price for wood. There’s a similar raise in the culinary arts program, going from $30 to $40 because of the rising cost of food.

• Casteel High School will charge students a $40 fee for auditioning. It’s only $25 at Arizona College Prep and Perry High. There is no charge to audition at the district’s other three high schools.

• AP exam fees are jumping to $100. That price is set by the College Board, which administers the test.

• Chandler High started a pilot program earlier this year where it gave all students a laptop to try and close the digital divide. Parents were given the option to purchase a one-time $25 device protection fee, which would replace the device if it were lost, damaged or stolen. That charge will now be annual instead of one-time.

• Most of the new fees are $75 or less. Some fees, such as the newspaper class fee at Chandler High School, are relatively small, $3.

The district will also charge more for child care, raising fees about 4%. That’s because the Governing Board had earlier agreed to pay its child care staff higher wages.

CUSD’s Lil Explorers program will go from $1,044 a month to $1,086 for infants. That’s for five days a week and does not include a $75 registration fee.

There are waivers for families that cannot afford to pay the fees. The principal, or the site administrator, decides who qualifies for a waiver at each location. However, Berry said someone must still pay the fee.

In order for the principal to grant a waiver, the school must have a gift from someone else to cover the costs.

Chandler Unified School District Extracurricular Activity Fee Schedule

The principal may waive the assessment of all or part of any fee if it creates an economic hardship for the family.  Fee waiver forms are available at each school and must be submitted to the principal’s office for review and approval.

• When a participation fee range exists, the Principal must approve the fee amount within the Board-approved fee schedule.

• Extracurricular activity fee requirements can be satisfied by tax credit donations, fundraising participation or non-tax credit payments.

• Maximum amounts are specific to the activity category. (Ex. Participation fees from athletics cannot be combined with band).