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BV changes student fees

MANLIUS –  Families with more than two students at Bureau Valley will get a little break next school year with student fees.

With a recommendation from the Bureau Valley Finance Committee, the board on Monday approved to place a cap on the $100 book and registration fee required per student.

The cap will be placed on fees greater than $200.

"So if a family registers four students, they wouldn't pay $100 for each of the four children. (Families) will get X amount for $200," board member Kent Siltman said.

Board President Rick Cernovich spoke out against student fees and fundraising, as he pointed out the district has one big fundraiser called "property taxes."

"I think it's our mission to live within that money provided for us," he said. "I believe it's our obligation to provide a free public education."

Cernovich said he was happy to see a cap put on families, but highlighted the loss of funds that would be collected next year.

"I just don't see more bang for the buck there," he said.

Along with the cap on registration fees, the board approved to place a $1 fee on alternative lunches, which will be offered to students who aren't able to pay for a regular $2 lunch. Alternative lunches consist of a cheese sandwich, fruit, milk and a portion of the vegetable served on a particular day.

Superintendent James Whitmore explained alternative lunches are not meant to be a second choice, but simply a meal the district will provide at a lower fee.

According to him, the district has experienced difficulties with unpaid regular lunch fees.

"As the board is aware, we had a significant amount of uncollected lunch fees, and fortunately through the help of principals and food services, we got it down to a reasonable amount of money," he said.

Whitmore stated he had hoped to be more proactive with a solution at the beginning of the year, but looking ahead, he is assured the district will be better prepared to try out the alternative lunch fee this coming school year to help prevent unpaid lunch fees.

The board approved the change in fees in a 5-1 vote; Cernovich voted no. Board member Don Dewaele was absent from the meeting.

In other news, the board:

• Agreed to purchase a handicapped accessible bus not to exceed the cost of $85,000 using Medicaid and administration outreach funds.

• Accepted the resignations of Cindy Morris as Wyanet cafeteria worker, Gwen Swanson as BV South cafeteria worker and Nicole Forward as high school cafeteria worker.

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