Jefferson Township Schools will institute a “pay to participate” policy at the high school and middle school for the 2020-2021 school year, according to superintendent Jeanne Howe.

The fees will be $100 per student to participate in one activity and an additional $50 for the second. Anything beyond that will have no charge, according to Howe.

The fees have been put in place due to losses of state aid because of school funding bill S-2. Enacted in July 2018, S-2 calculates a difference between the school district’s total state aid allocation in the current budget year and the pre-budget year. Districts with a positive differential are labeled “overfunded” and receive reduced state funding. Cumulative estimated losses to Jefferson Township in state aid could reach over $38 million by the 2024-25 school year.

Other losses to the district include the reduction of high school and middle school extracurricular activities by 50 percent, the elimination of team coordinator positions at the middle school, reduction of instructional, library, and health service supply accounts by 25 percent, and the elimination of Saturday detention at the high school. The board’s presentation to the public can be viewed here.

In her superintendent’s report, Howe also discussed graduation alternatives and reopening of schools.

“It is my hope that we will be back in school in time for our traditional graduation ceremony to take place as scheduled. However, we have started to explore alternatives that are in line with governor’s executive orders,” she said. “This is a discussion that is also taking place at the state level. We have started to look at alternatives already in case we have to go to a plan B. We would be calling upon parents to assist as this would be a large and difficult undertaking,” she added.

Later in the meeting, Howe answered a question from a parent regarding parental involvement in the graduation, assuring her that parent input would not only be welcome, but necessary.

Howe also noted that the Return to School Committee will be meeting this week with three alternatives, which include returning to school this year, returning to school in September, or either of these with a second wave of the virus hitting that would necessitate the closing of schools again. She will keep the board and the public apprised as plans unfold.


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