Petersburg School District is increasing some of the student activity fees for the upcoming year. For high school students, fees will increase from $150 per activity to $175 – except for cheerleading fees, which will stay at $150 because cheerleading doesn’t involve as much travel.
For middle school students, activity fees will stay the same, at $60 if the student travels, or $20 if they don’t. Activity Director Jaime Cabral says there will be a cap of $700 per family, since otherwise it could get expensive.
Petersburg schools are expecting to receive less funding from the state this year, since enrollment is projected to be lower. Meanwhile, travel has become more expensive. Students used to travel to most activities on the ferry. But the ferry schedule has become more sporadic, so teams are flying more often. And airline ticket prices have gone up with rising fuel costs.
Superintendent Erica Kludt-Painter said the last time the district increased activity fees was in 2015.
“It’s still very reasonable in comparison with other districts around us,” Kludt-Painter said. “Like Juneau’s activity fees are upwards of $1,000 for some activities, so we feel like we’re still in line and providing an opportunity for all kids to participate. We still have some scholarship opportunities available for kids as well.”
The district has submitted its budget to the state, but expects to revise it throughout the year as finances and enrollment numbers become clearer. Activity fees are not likely to change again soon, but the schools are hoping to be able to offer more trips than are currently scheduled, and send more kids on each trip. School Board President Sara Holmgrain wants to prioritize keeping activities affordable and accessible, especially as kids transition out of the restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s a pretty important aspect of student engagement to the school district,” Holmgrain said. “But also the students have been struggling over the last couple of years to be engaged. And this is a huge portion of it, I think.”
The activities fees paid by families help in the overall cost for student travel. However, the district budget also helps, and students fundraise to help raise money for travel costs.