Activity fees for students at secondary schools in Kuna are going up this year.

The Kuna School District board of trustees approved the increase last week.

Activity fees are required for students who participate in athletics and other school clubs and organizations. Each student must pay a fee for each activity, even if the student participates in multiple activities.

Activity fees will be raised $20, from $50 to $70, per high school activity, and $10, from $30 to $40, per middle school activity. Additionally, middle school associated student body fees will be raised $5, from $15 to $20. High school associated student body fees, which are $40, will not increase.

The new fees take effect this year.

Assistant Superintendent Kim Bekkedahl presented the proposed fee increases at the Aug. 13 school board meeting.

Trustees unanimously approved the fee increases. Trustee Russ Johnson was absent.

Trustee Kim Nixon recommended athletics coaches remind parents the fees don’t guarantee students’ playing time in school sports.

Trustee Sallie Ann McArthur agreed.

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“It’s so funny that you have to explain that to parents these days,” McArthur said. “Because I think everyone has always known that the better kids are going to get the playing time.”

McArthur went on to say that students can earn money to pay the activity fees themselves.

“There are a lot of opportunities for young kids, under 16, to make some money,” she said. “I don’t want to make it seem like I’m insensitive to families that have financial problems, but there is absolutely a benefit to kids working hard to get to participate, as well.”

Scholarships are available for students who can’t afford the activity fee, Bekkedahl said.

“There would never be a point where the child couldn’t participate because they couldn’t pay the fee,” she said.

The fee increases follow an activity funding shortfall last year at Kuna’s three secondary schools. Kuna High School had a $12,190 shortfall last year. Kuna Middle School had a $3,125 shortfall, and Fremont Middle School had a $7,900 shortfall.

Kuna High School is expected this year to collect $61,470 in activity fee revenue. The school’s activities expenses total $60,000, but the remaining $1,470 will be used to purchase new equipment, according to Bekkedahl’s presentation.

Kuna Middle School, which will have hundreds more students than Fremont Middle School, is expected to have a $2,500 surplus from its projected $22,500 in activity fee revenue. The surplus will be earmarked for Fremont Middle School, which is projected to have a $5,500 shortfall, despite the fee increase.

Reporter Ryan Suppe can be reached at 208-922-3008. Follow him on Twitter: @salsuppe.

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