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Newport extracurriculars could come at a price

By MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent

October 04. 2017 10:11PM
Community members are being asked to fill out a survey on whether the Newport school district should charge fees for extracurricular activities. (MEGHAN PIERCE/Correspondent file)



NEWPORT — The recently established School District Fee Committee wants community members to fill out a survey on whether the school district should charge fees for extracurricular activities.

“Right now we don’t have any fees, but we have a lot of fundraising going on,” said SAU 43 Superintendent Cindy Gallagher on Wednesday.

Gallagher said she would not describe the proposed policy as a “pay-to-play” policy because the extracurricular activities encompass so much more including math, robotics and LGBT clubs.

“We have a lot more than athletics going on,” Gallagher said. “We’re really trying to get people to understand that sports is a little bit over half.”

For the most part these clubs and sports teams pick up the extra funds needed for these activities through parent-organized fundraisers and through local business sponsors. It always seems to fall on the same businesses in town, she said.

The survey asks community members how they feel about Newport students paying a fee for activities. It also asks if students living outside of the district should pay tuition to attend Newport schools and whether homeschooled children should pay fees for after-school activities.

As of Wednesday more than 150 electronic and paper surveys had been submitted, Gallagher said.

Looking at the results Wednesday afternoon, she said the majority of respondents, more than 80 percent, said no to fees.

The results will be presented to school board members at or before their meeting next week on Oct. 12. The board could make a decision that night, Gallagher said.

March Town Meeting voters said yes in a narrow margin — 216 to 211 – to studying the question.

Paper surveys are available at the SAU 43 Office at 86 Main St., and in the main offices at Richards Elementary and Newport Middle & High School.

You can take the survey at www.sau43.org and on the Districts Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NSDHomeoftheTigers.



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