Activity Fee FAQ's
The following “Frequently Asked Questions” make up an initial list of questions we expect to be presented most often regarding a new funded activities fee for participation.
Is an activity fee really necessary in the WCASD at this time?
Yes, an activity fee has become a necessary component of properly funding extra- curricular programs in our District. We have a tradition of offering high-quality extra- curricular programs for our students and in this time of extreme, ongoing budget challenges, our goal is to avoid eliminating some programs to keep others going. It is our belief that the time has come for the growing costs associated with extra- curricular activities to be offset to some extent by participating students and their families.
What’s been done to make sure the activity fee won’t result in greatly reduced levels of participation?
All stakeholder interests have been taken into consideration in the application of an activity fee. It is designed to be as fair and equitable as possible. As a result, fees are set at reasonable levels that will not discourage participation, within a structure that represents underlying costs as well as fee policies in surrounding districts. Fees also take into account the support being provided by booster organizations.
Who came up with the idea and who approved it?
As part of the Community Budget Task Force, a representative group of individuals that included parents, educators, administrators, local businesspeople, and even a student insight provided guidance in creating the concept and the implementation parameters. Recommended by the administration for consideration by the School Board, a Board committee and the full Board have voted to move forward in creating the necessary steps towards implementing an activity fee.
Does a family with multiple children participating in multiple activities have to pay an activity fee for each child?
A “Family Cap” will be in place, which is a maximum limit on the amount of fees a family has to pay to participate in extracurricular activities. In the WCASD, the maximum family cap is set at $250 per school year. No matter how many students from one family choose to participate, and whatever the number of activities they’re part of, the amount any one family pays in fees cannot exceed $250.
What about students from economically disadvantaged families, or those for whom an activity fee is simply too great a burden?
The WCASD has experience in making sure that all students, regardless of financial status, have access to everything from school materials to daily breakfasts and lunches. The activity fee program will be implemented in a similar a way to ensure that any student facing economic hardship will be able to participate, with sensitivity to the respect and dignity each child deserves.
Who determines whether or not a student falls into the category of economically disadvantaged?
Activity fee scholarships will be offered by the District for families experiencing financial hardship.
A financial hardship case is primarily defined as including any student who is a categorically eligible child automatically qualifying for free benefits of the status as one of the following: A member of a household, as determined by the administering agency, receiving assistance under the Food Stamp Program, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) or the Temporary Assistance for Needy Children Program (TANF.) TANF is the Federal designation, and each state uses its own name and acronym.
Also eligible to avoid a participation activity fee are students enrolled in a Head Start or Even Start program on the basis of meeting that program’s low-income criteria; a homeless child as determined by the school district’s homeless liaison or by the director of a homeless shelter; a migrant child as determined by the State or local Migrant Education Program (MEP) coordinator; or a runaway child who is receiving assistance from a program under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act and is identified by the local educational liaison.
My child participates in an extra-curricular activity that does not make use of a paid teacher or advisor so do I have to pay an activity fee for him/her?
No, an activity fee does not apply to extra-curricular programs in which a paid (supplemental contract) position is not involved in advising or coaching students.
How will the activity fee be applied based on the grade level of each student?
Elementary Students: Grades 3-5
Families of elementary students will be assessed a $27.00 activity fee per student, per year which allows the student to participate in one or multiple elementary- funded activities (orchestra, band, chorus, and intramurals).
Middle School Students:
Families of middle school students will be assessed an $82.00 activity fee per student, per year, which allows the student to participate in one or multiple funded activities and/or sports.
High School Students:
Families of high school students will be assessed a $109.00 activity fee per student, per year, which allows the student to participate in one or multiple funded activities and/or sports.
Are there any activities in which students participate that represent exceptions from having to pay a fee?
Yes, service activities – which are those activities that involve students performing a service to the school or student body – will be exempted from activity fees.
Examples of service activities include Bus Safety Patrol (elementary), Yearbook (middle and high school), Student Government (middle and high school), Class Officers 9th through 12th grade, and student members of the National Honor Society.
Is the WCASD the only District in our area to charge an activity fee and, if not, where does our fee rank compared to the others?
No, the WCASD activity fee actually follows many other Districts in Chester County, as well as surrounding counties, that adopted an activity or “pay-to-play” charge last year or earlier. Based on an evaluation of the costs and policies applied by other Districts, the WCASD activity fee ranks very low in the financial impact it will have on participants.
How will an activity fee be collected?
The activity fee is collected annually and, if you choose to participate in a funded activity, please pay by using the online payment method, PaySchools Central. Additional payment information is available on our Activity Fee website.