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Bus fees set to rise at magnet schools

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Bus fees for students of magnet schools and special programs at Evanston/Skokie School District 65 are set to rise for the 2016-2017 school year.

The district board’s Finance Committee Monday night approved an administration request for a 7.5 percent increase in the fee charged students who ride the bus to King Arts and Bessie Rhodes magnet schools and to such special programs as Two-Way Immersion (TWI) and African-Centered Curriculum (ACC).

These students currently pay $450, but next year they will be charged $484. Students qualifying for reduced lunch who currently pay $144 will be charged $145.

The committee approved the new fee schedule and passed it along to the full board with a recommendation for its approval.

Actually, the fees only pay for about two-thirds of the $722 annual cost per student, according to Mary Brown, the district’s chief financial officer. The projected cost to the district for the transportation is $461,824, of which some $106,831 is projected to be recovered from local and state sources.

The committee also approved, and forwarded to the full board, a 3 percent increase in the fees the district charges outside groups to rent district facilities for various purposes, in order to keep up with cost increases.

Superintendent Paul Goren, in presenting an update on steps the administration is taking to keep the district budget balanced in future years, warned that many district programs are being evaluated for future cuts.

Earlier, Goren had told the board he plans to appoint a committee of stakeholders to recommend changes, but said Monday night that he is holding off on appointing that committee until after the district finishes bargaining with its labor groups, including the teachers union, this spring.

Charles Bartling

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio stations and business-oriented magazines.

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