Pay to participate

Potential charges for clubs


Jacob Perszyk

Senior Axel Abrahamson at a student council meeting on March 22. Park plans to make an enrollment fee for clubs in the upcoming year.

Crystal Diaz and Aidan Shafton

With the recent budget cuts Park has made, Park’s Finance Advisory Committee is advising the School Board to enforce a $25 fee for participation in clubs in the 2023–24 school year. 

Members of the Financial Advisory Committee offered explanations of the new fee, stating that this fee would not apply to “service clubs” like SOAR and JSU. Superintendent Astein Osei said the method the Finance Advisory Committee uses to determine costs is to mirror fees put in place by nearby school districts. 

“Each year our Finance Advisory Committee looks at what our current fee structure is,” Osei said. “Most years, they’ll look around at neighboring school districts, and they try to gauge where we are at compared to other places.”

Director of Business services and leader of the Finance Advisory Committee Patricia Magnuson gave a further explanation to why these costs are being put into place. She said that there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with having after-school clubs and implementing payments would organize the students.

“The administration at the high school has been trying to get a handle on clubs so we understand who’s enrolled in clubs, which advisers are getting a stipend and the clubs that they’re running.” Magnuson said. “First and foremost is to make sure students are safe in the building. If something would happen to the building, we want to just make sure we know who’s here to keep students safe.” 

Junior and student intern for the Finance Advisory Committee Alicia Margalli said one of the ways the money from the $25 fees would be used is for paying teacher stipends. 

“If a teacher is running a club, they are required to be paid for it,” Margalli said. “The school is asking for $25 in order to pay for the club adviser.”

Osei said he expects the School Board will put a plan in place to help students who have trouble paying fees. 

“I’m confident that we’re not going to allow club fees to exclude students from participating and I would expect that there will be a provision in place for students that don’t have access to $25,” Osei said. 

Margalli said the committee is coming up with ways to get students to continue joining clubs when the fee goes into effect, as there is a possibility that students will be more reluctant to participate in a club.

“We are trying to come up with ideas to fix that problem,” Margalli said. “We are trying to come up with a one-day pass, where we give students the opportunity to have this one-day pass to go to a club for free so they can see what the club is before joining it and before paying for it.” 

Spanish club adviser Hanna Anderson emphasized how there are more factors that should be considered when putting this fee in place, including the amount of times a club meets.

“Of course, it is challenging because some clubs meet more often than others,” Anderson said. “It’d be nice if there’ll be a little bit of differentiation between clubs. It would be nice if the fee was less for clubs who don’t meet as regularly.”

Magnuson said the fees will not go directly to the club, instead they will cover the cost of ru  nning a club in the school. “We cannot charge fees for just participating in a club,” Magnusson said. “The fees have to go toward covering some administrative costs. They will be used to cover the cost of the stipend for teachers which is part of the teacher’s contract. We cannot put the excess into the club. Everything that is spent on student activities has to be fundraised by students.