by Matthew Warsofsky
Since their implementation in 2012, many students and parents have been complaining about the relatively new user fees at NAHS.
North Attleboro High School requires all students who wish to participate in a club or sport to pay a $150 user fee. This price was decided upon by athletic director Mr. Kurt Kummer and former principal and current superintendent Mr. Holcomb and the rest of the school committee after looking at other schools in the Hockomock League to set a fair, middle-of-the-road price. The money the school gets from user fees goes into an account which is used to pay for expenses such as referees for a game or coaches salaries.
With these amounts, however, there are a few discounts and exceptions to paying user fees.
One exception the school has to paying user fees is that they are waived if a student qualifies for free or reduced lunch. Another exception to the rule is if there is a struggling family that can’t afford to pay the price, they can make a deal with Mr. Kummer that they can work for their user fee by doing odd jobs like painting things in the school. In an interview, Mr. Kummer cited at least three instances where students who were unable to pay their user fees were able to essentially pay them off by doing a mix of different jobs to help improve the school.
Since the user fees were instituted in 2012, various clubs and activities at NAHS have seen their numbers fluctuate. For instance, both the Theater Company and Math League saw their numbers dip in the years immediately following the implementation of user fees. Mrs. Scorpio, who is in charge of the Math League, said, “There was a significant drop in students… I used to be able to fill two classrooms worth of students before user fees and now I struggle barely filling mine.”
Even the ever-popular athletics have seen a slight dip in their numbers. Before having user fees, NAHS would normally have around 450 students or higher per season, however, some parents pull their children out of sports or clubs because they do not want to pay their user fees.
Many people believe the price of $150 per sport or club is a hassle and parents don’t believe their kids need to pay in order to play a sport, especially if their child doesn’t start or get a lot of playing time.Having user fees means that students and their families must seriously consider the cost of an activity and its overall benefit before signing up.
Sophomore Aakash Sunkari said, “I was seriously considering dropping science club because I believe that a lot of the clubs don’t do enough that would make it be worth $150 dollars, especially if you can’t make it to all of the meetings.”
Despite the seeming unpopularity of user fees, it seems that they have become a way of life in North Attleboro and other area schools. There are a few changes that has come from paying user fees would be that clubs fees are a first-time payment only, meaning you can join as many clubs as you want and it only costs $150 dollars. There is another change for paying user fees which is that if you are part of the Student Leadership program, SCAR, or SADD, then you are no longer required to pay a user fee.