Shawnee Mission parents will pay lower fees when school enrollment starts later this month

Families enrolling students at Indian Hills and other northeast Johnson County public schools this summer will be paying less for textbook rental.
Families enrolling students at Indian Hills and other northeast Johnson County public schools this summer will be paying less for textbook rental.

Parents going to pay fees for children at Shawnee Mission schools in the coming weeks may notice that the trip isn’t quite as painful as it has been in years past.

In May, the Board of Education approved a new fee schedule for the 2014-2015 school year that included significant reductions in the textbook rental and high school participation fees. The textbook rental fee dropped from $110 for K-12 and $25 for Preschool to $80 for K-12 and $20 for Preschool. The high school activity fee went from $90 to $75.

Leigh Anne Neal, the district’s Association Superintendent for Communication, said the moves came as a response to the feedback the district had gotten from stakeholders since new Superintendent Jim Hinson started July 2013.

“Concern regarding fees has been a common theme voiced by parents and patrons,” she said. “Recognizing these concerns, the district prioritized reducing fees where possible.”

The total loss of revenue for the district from the reductions will be $600,000 for the textbook fees and $110,000 for the participation fee.

Additionally, the fee for all-day kindergarten has been dropped from $2,700 per year to $2,430 per year. Families with students eligible for the reduced price lunch program will now pay $730 per year as opposed to $810. There is still no charge for all-day kindergarten for students eligible for the free lunch program.

“We know that there are some families who would like to enroll in the program but cannot afford the fees,” Neal said. “The district has reduced the fees slightly and extended the payment option across 10 months rather than 9 months in an effort to address some of the financial challenges.  We continue to advocate at the state level for fully-funded all-day kindergarten because it is so important for our students.”

The changes to the all-day kindergarten fee schedule will result in the loss of approximately $200,000 in revenue for the district.

Neal said that new funding the district will receive from the 2 percent increase in the local option budget will help offset the revenue reductions, and that the district has made adjustments to staffing and programming that will result in savings to help offset the revenue losses as well.