August 13, 2009 in Washington Voices

CV approves football fee

Middle school athletes must pay $125
By The Spokesman-Review

The Central Valley school board voted Monday night without discussion to add a $125 fee for middle school boys to play football. The move is part of a pay-to-play plan the district came up with to save the program from cuts.

The new fee is in addition to a $26 helmet and uniform fee and the Associated Student Body fee required of all student athletes, which varies by school. Low-income students who qualify for free lunch will only have to pay the $26 uniform fee and the ASB fee. Students who qualify for reduced-price lunch will pay both those fees and a $45 football fee.

The board also voted to give Superintendent Ben Small the authority to renegotiate the lease of the old University High School to Valley Christian School. The school wants to reduce the amount of gym time it pays for and might rent five more classrooms for its elementary grades. Only its high school students attend classes in the building now.

“They are very good stewards of the building,” said Jay Rowell, assistant superintendent of human resources and operations. “It is in our best interest as well as theirs.”

Board members also heard a final presentation on the 2009-’10 budget before a public hearing and vote on the document scheduled for their next meeting, on Aug. 24. Most of the cuts have been discussed for months and include staff reductions at the district office, elimination of several bus routes, termination of the Outdoor Environmental Education program for fifth-graders, cuts to extracurricular activities and eliminating 14 teaching positions.

“We made some difficult decisions along the way with this budget,” Small said.

The budget outlook appears dim for the next several years, said Jan Hutton, executive director of finance. The federal stimulus money used to make up for cuts in state money will go away in two years. This year’s cost-of-living pay increase for teachers was canceled, but it will have to be made up later. Retirement rates are also scheduled to go up significantly in the next biennium.

“We know we have some challenges going into the future,” she said.

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