Most fees at Maine Township High School District 207 schools will remain relatively stable for the next school year, because the board members said many families are feeling the strain of a sluggish economy.
“There are some choice books that have gone up, but most fees are close to the same,” said Mary Kalou, the district’s assistant superintendent for business, at a board meeting Monday.
$100 gadget needed for math
One new cost that will apply to students in Algebra I and higher math classes at and is the need for a graphing calculator, preferably a Texas Instruments 84-plus, which the school will sell for $100 each.
Students may purchase their calculators elsewhere, or rent them from the school for $35 a year. Students who receive free or reduced-price lunches would get a rental calculator at no cost, but it would have to be returned at the end of the year.
The students need to become proficient with the graphing calculators because they will help them model math problems and test their hypotheses, according to a memo included in the school board’s backup materials.
Apps? No, kids would snap photos of exams
While some kids might want to use graphing calculator apps for smartphones, those cannot be used on standardized tests or college entrance exams because such devices – and their cameras and communication functions – pose a security threat to the tests.
If the pilot program to require – and sell – the calculators at Maine East and West goes well, intends to adopt the same policy next year.
One other fee questioned
Board member Margaret McGrath did question one other fee, required of students in work-study or internship programs at Maine East. The fee, $15 to join DECA or another national organization that helps prepare students for the world of work, is the only mandatory fee for a class that goes to an outside group.
Because the district must pay mandatory fees for students who receive free and reduced-price meals, the fee actually would cost the district about $800 next year, Kalou said.
McGrath joined the rest of the District 207 school board members in voting for the fee schedule, but suggested that administrators take another look at that particular fee, which is not required of students in similar classes at the other schools.
“It’s a little outside the box,” she said.
Kalou noted that the district is working to make fees for similar classes and programs comparable at all three schools.