SHELBY — The School Board of Schools in the City of Shelby will consider waiving tuition for a second straight year.
Superintendent Tim Tarvin broached the subject at the monthly meeting on Monday.
“The board will have to make a decision, probably next month,” Tarvin said.
Last July, board members voted unanimously to eliminate student tuition and transportation fees for athletics for the 2021-22 school year.
“We believe that coming out of a pandemic, there are families that are still struggling,” Tarvin said at the time. “This is one step we can take to ease that financial burden at the start of the school year.
“From my perspective, it’s a responsible thing for our district to do.”
Board chair Lorie White added: “We’ve been talking about this for years. We’re lucky to be in a financial position where we can do this.”
Treasurer Beth Lykins said these fees generate about $48,000 a year for the district.
“We were going to revisit that decision every school year,” Tarvin said at Monday’s meeting. “I think we’re still in a position where waiving fees won’t put us in a financial hole.
“I think parents appreciate that.”
The council accepts several donations
As usual, board members spent part of the monthly meeting accepting donations. The district secured a $50,000 grant from the Shelby Foundation to be used for the new pre-K-8 building’s playground.
“We applied for a grant, and they were very generous,” said Deputy Superintendent Paul Walker. “We needed it to complete the project.”
The Shelby Foundation also provided a $5,000 grant for the eighth-grade trip to Washington, D.C.
Traveling in a large group by bus raised restrictions related to COVID-19.
“You take 200 people by bus to DC. Do you test them before the trip?” Tarvin asked. “The downside is you have to bring 200 people here and have them tested. It’s a bit of a logistical nightmare.
“It’s open to discussion.”
Tarvin noted that the community, schools and the country in general are in a much better place when it comes to the pandemic, even for a few months.
“Where we are now, this (test) is not really necessary,” she said. “It (the infection rate) has come down significantly. There aren’t many cases in the community, certainly not in schools.
“That doesn’t mean that in a month we won’t be in a different situation.”
Other board members agreed with White not to recommend pre-trip testing.
The council has also accepted a number of donations for the sports complex, which is due to open in August. The Shelby Athletic Booster Club donated $40,000 for baseball turf.
The Mechanics Bank contributed $15,000 for the land, while members of the 1998 football team donated $3,160 for the same.
“The board appreciates this every month,” White said of the donations.
Esports approved as a club activity
Another $3,000 donation came from M Smith Roofing for Shelby Esports. Later in the meeting, the board approved Esports as a club for the current school year. Esports is a form of competition using video games.
“We have a segment of our student population that is committed to esports,” Tarvin said, adding that some colleges offer scholarships for the specialty.
High school principal John Gies added, “It’s amazing how many kids are involved, just like that.”
Board member Carl Ridenour asked about games that are extremely violent and may not be rated E for everyone.
“It’s early days,” Tarvin said. “We may not understand it, but they (the children) are being watched.”
White added: “As long as it’s well supervised, it’s good to give the kids as many opportunities as possible.”