A few weeks ago Hamilton County Commissioners decided that the school system needed to figure a way to live within their means. They sent school board members back to the drawing board on the budget and denied their request to raise property taxes by 44 cents per $100 of assessed value. While this is a relief to already strapped homeowners, parents of students in East Ridge did not escape unscathed.
A few days before the commissioners made their decision, the school board voted to approve school fees for the 2015 – 2016 year. There are two classes of fees listed below. The first is school fees, and while fees are requested, they are not required by law. Failure to pay fees doesn’t affect your child’s ability to attend field trips, or receive a report card.
It does however disrupt the flow of funds the school system uses to operate and purchase supplies such as lab supplies, learning materials, copy paper, pencils, etc.
The next class is debt. Schools may refuse to provide report cards, or provide a paper diploma for failure to pay debt.
School fees are seen by many as an additional tax on parents and many consider the fees charged by schools in Hamilton County to be some of the highest in the state. The school board states that the need for school fees is to fill the budget gap created by the way the state calculates school funding based on the “wealth” of the county the system is in. It’s for that reason that the Hamilton County School System along with seven other systems are in the process of suing the state for failing to adequately fund public schools.
2015 – 2016 SCHOOL FEES:
East Ridge Elementary – $50.00 General (Classroom materials and manipulatives, duplicating and laminating supplies, art materials and supplies, computer lab supplies, PE supplies, science supplies and music supplies)
Spring Creek Elementary – $20.00 General ( curriculum materials, math manipulatives, technology supplies, laminating supplies, equipment repair/replacement/lease)
East Ridge Middle School – $50.00 General (duplicating, locker maintenance, agendas, library supplies, printing supplies, postage, testing supplies, instructional supplies); $8.00 8th Grade Science Fee (lab supplies).
East Ridge High School – $25.00 General (Copier Materials, newspaper, handbook, computer materials, technology supplies, student mailing supplies, etc.); $20-30 Art (pencils, paint, brushes) (per semester); $10 PE/Wellness (volleyball, basketball, etc.); $15 Science (per semester) (Chemicals, lab supplies, classroom supplies, etc.); $2 Transcripts (copies); $50 Concert Choir (sheet music and supplies)
2015 – 2016 SCHOOL DEBTS:
East Ridge Middle – $10-70 Athletic Fee (football, basketball, etc.) per sport; $100 Cheerleading (Uniforms, music, cheerleading supplies)
East Ridge High – $91 A/P Classes (AP exam); $30- $300 Athletic General(athletic trainer, sport physicals, various sports program expenses); $60 Parking (permits, parking lot maintenance); $25 Senior Graduation (Diploma covers, graduation ceremony supplies); $850 Cheerleading (practice clothes, warm up, shoes, poms, bows, bags, camp, misc. supplies).