Old Rochester Regional plans for club fee increase

Sep 12, 2019

Starting in October, Old Rochester Regional High School will impose a $100 activities fee to participate in some of its clubs. 

Principal Mike Devoll told the Old Rochester Regional District School Committee at a Sept. 11 meeting that the change would primarily impact clubs such as the Drama Club, Debate Team and Math Team that require significant adult supervision or involve off-campus travel.

Devoll said he has asked club leaders to send him data on each club, such as whether it meets during the day or after school. There will be no cost for clubs that meet during the school’s flex block. 

Superintendent Doug White suggested that Devoll also gather information on the money each club brings in, generally through fundraisers, and on each club’s expenditures.

Devoll noted that, when the school had an activities fee six years ago, it gradually became harder and harder to collect. He said the family identification system used for athletics fees should make collection of club fees more efficient. 

The principal said it would be a one-time fee for a family, even if multiple children participate in multiple clubs. The fee would also be waived for students who are in the free and reduced lunch program.

Part of the cost issue is that ORR does not operate its own bus fleet, instead contracting with Amaral Bus Company. Thus, every bus trip by a club incurs a new charge from Amaral.

Committee member Tina Rood asked if the school could reduce the cost of providing club transportation by using the small bus that it owns.

The response from Michael Nelson, the director of student services, made it clear that the issue is a bit complicated. 

Committee members briefly discussed purchasing another bus to cut commuting costs for groups, and decided to look into it. Facilities Director Eugene Jones said that buying another small bus would cost $50,000. 

“I’m surprised we don’t have something like that for smaller athletic trips,” Devoll said.

Athletics fees also increased this year from $225 to $275 for most teams. The fee for the dance team has gone from $112.50 to $150. The family cap, or amount that families must pay for
multiple athletes or multiple sports also increased from $600 to $975.