Hillsborough school board will have a hearing on a new activity fee


The Hillsborough Township Board of Education has set a public hearing for Aug. 26 on an activity participation fee for the district.

The fee would apply to athletic competition and co-curricular activities, according to officials.

The nine-member board of President Judith Haas, Vice President Lorraine Soisson, Joyce Eldridge-Howard, Gregory Gillette, Ann Harris, Lisa Maroun, Chris Pulsifer and Jane Staats voted “yes” to move the policy to a public hearing during the school board’s July 22 meeting.

Board member Jean Trujillo produced the dissenting vote.

Due to a reduction in state aid, the board of education is looking to establish an activity participation fee program to use as a revenue source to cover costs for operating school sponsored activities.

“On the March 12 ballot, it stated “If not passed the District would need to consider… increasing fees for students to participate in athletics and co-curricular activities…”. These fees are one of the consequences of the failed referendum,” said Michael Callahan, spokesman for the Hillsborough Township Public School District.

According to the state Department of Education, the school district’s state aid will be reduced from $24.93 million in 2018-19 to $24.4 million in 2019-20 – a reduction of $526,000.

Callahan said the anticipated revenue from the activity participation fees is $311,553.

“We recognize that these fees will create a challenge for some families and activity fees will be waived for economically disadvantaged students,” he said.

In 2019 when the Hillsborough Township Board of Education adopted its 2019-20 school year budget, district administrators announced that 37 staff members would not have their contracts renewed for 2019-20.

The activity participation fee program is a part of an increase in fees in the areas of technology, co-curricular athletics and building use.

Superintendent of Schools Jorden Schiff said back in May the increase in fees in these areas is anticipated to increase revenue by about $600,000.

The specific activities and fee amounts will be recommended by the Superintendent of Schools and approved by the board on an annual basis prior to the commencement of the registration or sign-up process for the activity, according to documents.

For high school athletics, marching band, winter guard and cheerleading there will be an annual activity fee of $100.

The fee will apply for each individual sport in which a student participates, according to officials.

High school clubs will have an annual $50 fee attached for students wanting to participate.

Middle school activities will have an annual fee of $40 for students to participate in sports, clubs and activities.

For intermediate school activities there would be a $25 fee to participate in athletics, clubs and activities, according to officials.

The next Hillsborough Township Board of Education meeting is slated for Aug. 26 at the Auten Intermediate School on 281 Auten Road.