SHREWSBURY – The Shrewsbury Public Schools is moving to eliminate its activity fees.
This is the result of a recommendation as part of Superintendent Joseph Sawyer’s larger budget presentation to the School Committee on Feb. 16.
“Certainly, we know that over time, Shrewsbury has become a high fee district,” Sawyer said. “Sometimes the activity fee that is at play gets in the way of students maybe participating in things.”
“I think, now more than ever, we want to find ways to connect kids to their school in ways that are meaningful to them,” he continued.
That could involve participating in the school play or in an after-school club.
According to Sawyer’s presentation, the activity fee at Shrewsbury High School is $110 a year. The fee is $75 a year at Oak Middle School. Sherwood Middle School’s fee is $55 a year.
Sawyer said the district heard this issue raised when it surveyed families and staff in the fall through an elementary and secondary school emergency relief fund grant.
“By eliminating this particular fee, we think there will be more access for students and provide some relief for the fee burden for families,” Sawyer said.
School Committee member Lynsey Heffernan praised the move.
“If there’s a fee that’s keeping a kid from being in a robotics program or a chess club or anything of the after-school nature, now is as good of a time as any to make sure that kids can get connected,” Heffernan said.
In this, Shrewsbury will join Algonquin Regional High School, which is similarly working to eliminate its activity fees.
Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough Superintendent Greg Martineau recently presented a specific plan to phase out student activity fees.
The fee will be reduced to $25 per student for the next school year. Fees will then be eliminated by the 2024 fiscal year.
ARHS to phase out student activity fees