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By CAROL THILMONY
Rantoul Press correspondent
FISHER — The Fisher school board approved increases in several fees for the new school year that begins in August.
Fees have been increased only once in the past 10 years. Kindergarten fees will be $50. Students in grades 1-12 will pay $65 and in addition, a $20 computer fee.
The industrial arts fee will be $30, and the athletic fee for junior/senior high will be $50 per student per sport, but no more than $100 per student no matter the number of sports he/she participates in.
The board also raised the driver’s education fee from $55 to $100. Last year the district took in $1,000 in fees and $5,000 from the state for the program, which didn’t begin to cover the $18,000 cost of it.
Superintendent Barb Thompson surveyed what other area districts charge and found most in a range from $100-250. Two nearby districts charge $450, she said.
“The cost of everything is going up,” Thompson said.
Lunch cost will go from $1.75 to $1.85. The cost will be increased each year incrementally until the federal government is convinced that lunch prices are sufficiently high that the district doesn’t appear to be subsidizing regular meals with funds it receives for free and reduced lunches.
Also, the board will hold a public hearing and special meeting at 5:45 p.m. June 27 beginning to amend the current budget. Thompson noted the transportation fund ended in the black because the district received the state’s payment for 2011 in 2012. As expected, the education finished $600,000 in the red, mainly because of lower state payments in that fund.
Thompson said though she usually begins the budget process by now for the fiscal year that begins July 1, there is no reason to begin until a clearer idea emerges of what state funding will be.
She said the state board has released numbers of three possible scenarios of state cutbacks that could leave Fisher with $230,000 less in funding than it received this year.
Now that school is out, workers have begun to work on renovations to the current senior/junior high. Though work has started on the new addition itself, Thompson said visible, dramatic progress will be made when the steel is delivered and put in place.
Also the board:
• Granted four-year contracts to Thompson and principals Tom Shallenberger and Jim Moxley.
• Entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the village’s tax increment district that grants $60,000 to the school district for construction of the all-weather track from the TIF district.
• Learned that summer school will be offered at both schools. The Jump Start program for the elementary school will be scheduled for late in the summer, run for two weeks and work with recommended students in reading in math. The high school program will run from two to four weeks and includes credit recovery which students can do independently online and English classes for students who have failed a semester or an entire year.
• Recognized retiring fourth-grade teacher Tess Camp, who spent all 34 years of her career at Fisher.
• Learned that 21 junior high students in 18 events qualified for the state meet.
• Approved changes to both schools’ handbooks. The high school handbook now reflects that the school has moved entirely to a 4.0 grading system and lists the honors courses that have weighted grades.
• Set an open house at the new transportation center from 10-11:30 a.m. Friday, June 1.