The Davenport School Board on Monday unanimously approved a policy that eliminates fees for school-sponsored activities.
The policy is intended to open activities to all children, but will also require the district to budget an additional $700,000 to $800,000.
“Teachers do believe student opportunities will increase for students with the removal of the financial barrier,” Associate Superintendent Robert G. Scott wrote in a letter to the board, dated Aug. 8. Groups include show choir, jazz band, dance teams and cheerleading.
“We’re trying to make sure all students in the district can participate in activities,” said Superintendent Robert Kobylski.
"My concern is the School Budget Review Committee,” said Board President Ralph Johanson, referencing the district's two-year plan to cut $13 million after overspending its budget authority in recent years. The district has appeared before the state committee several times, and will appear again in October.
“We have every intention of meeting our commitment to the SBRC,” Kobylski said. “We will need to go back and explain to the SBRC how we will pay for it.”
In part, the policy to waive extracurricular fees reads: “No enrolled students be excluded from participation in or denied the benefits of course offerings and related activities due to the student’s or the student’s parent’s or guardian’s financial inability to pay, a fee associated with the class, program or activity.”
In other action, after much discussion, a divided board approved a 1.5% increase for the administrative employee group and 1.98% hike for the non-bargaining employee group.
“I know there are other districts, quite frankly, that are poaching our employees,” Kobylski said. “I am advocating for these particular employees to have their raises.”
Voting against the administrative group raise were Dan Gosa, Clyde Mayfield and Linda Hayes, with Allison Beck, Bruce Potts, Julie DeSalvo and Johanson voting yes. Mayfield changed his vote to yes for the non-bargaining group.
Monday, Aug. 26, is the first day of school in the district.