District 211 School Fees Remain Consistent for Seven Years Straight

District 211 logoIn an effort to help families with educational costs, District 211’s Board of Education approved motions to not raise standard school fees. These fees have been consistent for the past seven years.

The six fees the Board approved at its January 17, 2013 meeting included: Transportation, Driver’s Education, Student Parking, Textbook and Instructional Supply, School Breakfast and Lunch, and Summer School. The only fee to see a slight increase since 2007-2008 is the school breakfast and lunch fee, but the cost for the Free and Reduced Lunch Program will remain the same.

“In recognition of the economic realities in our community, we have not raised school fees for seven consecutive years,” said Nancy Robb, superintendent of schools for District 211. “The only exception has been a very minimal increase in the cost for school lunches due to the fact that the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 (USDA) regulates the amount that should be charged.”

Government regulations, such as the USDA Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act, require school districts to maintain set amounts for costs of school meals. Student lunch fees were increased by 10¢ in compliance with the act and the National School Lunch Program.  Federal regulation requires the District to charge a particular price point for meals, and if those prices are not met, an increase of 10¢ per year will incur to reach the regulated rate.

This year’s school lunch rate should be $2.59 based on the new formula; however, District 211 will charge $2.25, $2.40 or $2.55 for its three-tier meal price structure. The same act also has improved the nutritional quality of school lunches.  Students are able to receive double the quantity of fruits and vegetables, a wider variety of produce, and more whole grains.

Another regulation applies to transportation. State legislation requires that students are charged for pickups less than 1.5 miles away from the school. That fee will remain at $170, which has not changed since the 2007-2008 academic year. There is no fee for students who live more than 1.5 miles away from school. Transportation for summer school will remain at $35 per semester.

The Driver’s Education Behind-the-Wheel course fee has not changed since the 2005-2006 academic year. This states that the course fee is not to exceed $350 for the course.
Costs for textbooks and instructional supplies have remained consistent since 2007-2008. The fee is $160 for the school year. Not only does this cover textbooks, but also instructional supplies and participation in athletics and activity programs.

Students who drive to school and park in school lots are subject to pay a fee of $65 per semester. These fees help generate funds for the operations and maintenance budget, which includes maintaining safe parking lots.

Lastly, for students who are required or opt to enroll in summer school classes, fees will remain $140 per semester for credit courses. Non-credit physical education and activity camps will remain $70 per session.  Summer athletic fees for incoming freshmen and sophomores will remain $30, while the fee for competitive varsity baseball and softball will remain $175 for the summer.

For a more detailed look at school fees for the upcoming academic year, please visit the District 211 BoardDocs website for the agenda.

Large Summer School Program Enhances Learning Opportunities

Summer School

Students work in a summer Consumer Education course at Fremd.

When school is out for summer, there are many students who are focused on continuing their education, or brushing up on academic or athletic skills they might not have time for during the regular academic year.

District 211’s expansive summer school program, which started June 13, is unique not only in the amount of courses offered, but also in the amount of students who take advantage of this opportunities.

“There is a mindset that summer school is for students repeating a course, and although we have students who do for various reasons, most students are here to advance and accelerate their skills in what I believe is one of the largest summer school programs in the state of Illinois,” said Charles Chamberlain, District 211 director of summer school, evening programs, and continuing education.

Courses offered during summer school allow students to remain in an academic setting nearly year round. This summer, there are 63 different academic courses with 401 different sections offered in the District’s summer school program, which also include special education, freshmen and sophomore academies, and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. Additionally, there are 226 athletic and activity camps offered to students for various athletic and spirit teams.

During the summer, a large number of students enroll in the District’s summer school program. Although enrollment figures for the current summer school will not be available until after second semester, student enrollment for summer 2011 was 13,680. This number reflects the number of students in each class. However, it is possible for students to take more than one summer course at a time.

Because of the large number of students who enroll in summer classes, it provides opportunities for District 211 staff to teach these courses. This summer, there are 260 District 211 staff members, plus an additional 115 teachers hired from outside the District, teaching summer school classes. There also are 295 coaches who run athletic and activity camps during the summer as part of the summer school program.

Academic courses offered over the summer help students open time in their class schedules during the regular school year for when they might be taking a heavier class load or more challenging courses, such as Advanced Placement or honors classes. Students also can take required courses such as Health Education or Consumer Education in summer school, as well as courses designed to further advance skills in reading, writing, or mathematics.

Other summer school offerings unique to District 211 are its freshmen and sophomore academies, and ESL academies. Incoming freshman and returning sophomores may receive an invitation to participate in academy-level courses, free of charge, to help improve vital academic skills during the summer.

“The academies were designed to help students who need to improve skills in reading and math,” Chamberlain said. “They are invited by the District based on test scores and there is no charge for the course or transportation, and they receive academic credit. We strive to make opportunities acceptable and accessible for parents and students in the summer, and if it improves skills and is free of charge, that’s a win-win.”

Athletic and activity camps are for all students and do not count for academic credit. Camps must follow standards outlined by the Illinois High School Association and are available for athletic teams at each school, as well as spirit groups such as cheerleaders, pom pons, and flags. The purpose of these camps is to not only advance skills in a particular sport or activity, but to also regulate off-season practice time for student-athletes.

Chamberlain, who has been with the District since 1972, said he has watched the District’s summer school advance from a smaller program to the expansive educational opportunity it is today.

“It really has evolved from just basic math, science, reading, writing and social studies,” he said. “It’s a way for District 211 students to experience other things, to keep them involved, and keep them active in a positive way.”

Additional information on the summer school program is available on the District 211 website, as well as by calling the summer school office (847-755-6820) or your high school.