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The Buena Vista (BV) Board of Education met at 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 5. The board created a new Ad Hoc Committee focused on property and considered the implications of raising athletic fees next year. Final decisions on the fees and fines were tabled for a later date.

Avery Parsons Elementary in Buena Vista. Image courtesy of TAB Associates

Ad Hoc Property Board Committee

The creation of the Ad Hoc Committee passed 6-0 with board member Brett Mitchell absent. After the board agreement, the committee is now comprised of board members Lynn Montoya and Stacey Moss, with a timeframe ending November 1.

The committee’s purpose is to consider short- and long-term plans to deal with overcrowding at Avery Parsons and the addition of early childhood education facilities. Hachmann Design and Engineering’s Abe Hachmann explained that a grant was not received to cover the early childhood education project, disrupting plans for a new preschool.

Hachmann requested that the board create a committee to help identify a direction to take and determine possible solutions in lieu of the grant. Montoya asked if modular buildings had been considered and Hachmann acknowledged that they had and would be a good short-term solution but would not be viable as a permanent fixture.

Athletic and Activity Fees and Fines

The Buena Vista Board of Education considered a proposal to raise fees and fines for athletics and activities. The increase in fees is motivated by rising costs for officiation and transportation. Additions include an increase of the family cap to $400 and an additional $50 fee per sport or activity for non-district student participants. Fees are always a concern for parents as well.

Student Fees for BVHS Athletics

  • First sport $125 – In-District**
  • Second sport $75 – In-District
  • Third sport $50 – In-District

Student Fees for BVHS Activities [choir and band]

  • First activity $75 – In-District
  • Second activity $50- In-District
  • Third activity $25 – In-District

Student Fees for BVMS Athletics:

  • First sport/activity $75 – In-District
  • Second sport/activity $50 – In-District
  • Third sport/activity $25 – In-District

**Non-District student participation fees shall include an additional $50 fee per sport/activity.

No community members were present for public comment. The board’s conversation focused primarily on lessening the potential financial hardship these changes could have on families with multiple students in athletics or students who participate in more than one activity.

“I think that with these [fee] increases, the participation increase we may not see because the costs have gone up so much,” said board member Lynn Montoya. Montoya continued to state concerns that the increased fees would create too much financial hardship on families already struggling with the increased cost of living.

“Legislation was passed to pay for lunches and breakfasts for those who can’t afford it, and then this price goes up. If you look at it from a family perspective, my concern is that their everyday bills have gone up in addition to having to pay for stuff at the school district with their kids.” she said.

Superintendent Lisa Yates emphasized that everyday costs are rising for both families and the school. Yates also clarified that those who qualify for free and reduced lunch do not have to pay the fees for athletics as long as they fill out the required paperwork.

“We want to make sure we don’t lower participation, and at the same time we have to acknowledge our costs are going up,” said Yates. “The more families who fill out the paperwork and qualify for free and reduced lunch, the better for the school and families, she said.”

Application information is available on the school’s website here.

Board member Jessica Crites suggested a ratcheted approach to raising the fees with a smaller increase first before raising the cap to $400.

Ultimately the board decided not to make any decisions on the fees yet, opting to wait for more information about how many families could be impacted by the decision and whether a slower approach would be feasible.

Other Business

Yates presented information about the Strategic Advisory Team, which is the new name for the PLA (Professional Learning Advisory). The name update occurred to more fully encompass the team’s role as the ears and voice representing school staff. The strategy team is set to meet at least once a month and is focused on topics such as resource allocation, professional learning, school as an experience, student response, and family and community engagement.

Yates stated that the PLA in the past was focused only on teachers, and they are hoping to expand the strategy team to include both teachers and other staff from the schools. A few representatives are involved from each school, though CCHS is not represented at this time but has been in the past.

An executive session occurred mid-meeting for legal counsel regarding staff petitions. No decisions were reached, and the public meeting resumed.

The consent agenda was approved without question and the minutes from the May 22 meeting were approved after an amendment noting that Montoya was present for that meeting.