The truth behind activity fees

Ricky Diaz, Sports Editor

At Joliet West, students are aware that some activities they compete in are charged with an activity fee. What students may not know, however, is that those prices vary across the different sports and are only a recommendation from the Board of Education. Even then, students do get somewhat of a price relief. Information regarding these sports activity fees can be found in West’s student-parent handbook, as pointed out by athletic director Mr. Millsaps.

A section of the handbook is dedicated to outlining the fees for each activity, and reading through, it may be surprising as what gets a fee, but what may be even more surprising is what does not get a fee. It might be obvious that sports such as football, soccer, basketball, and poms have fees, and those are the most expensive at their cost of $50. There are some other competitive activities that are charged with a lower fee of $25, which include the math team, scholastic bowl, science team, speech team, and group interpretation/drama. Now there are activities students can participate in that do not have a fee attached to them. Those include literary magazine, newspaper/yearbook, student council, band, choir, and National Honor Society.

While reading through the handbook, one would notice that the only  difference between the free group and the other two is that the latter are considered competitive. There is no explanation though as to how “competitive” is defined because some of those groups without fees, such as newspaper/yearbook and band, participate in competitions and receive placings and awards. It also should be noted that the handbook does recognize that the third group participates in SWSC activities. An additional issue is that there is also no explanation as to why there is a $25 difference between the first and second groups of activities. One thing that active students have going for them is that the heavily involved students to have relief, as according to the handbook, students can only be charged up to $100 per year for athletic and activity fees.

The handbook does have a bit of a contradiction in it. At the top of the section that deals with activity fees, it states that the board of education recommends the fees, while farther down under “participation fees,” it states that the Board of Education may establish fees. There have been some grumblings from students about these fees which aren’t advertised enough, but those students would be happy to know that the schools does offer help and that it would be beneficial to contact Mr. Millsaps directly.