Rockford Public Schools to eliminate most school fees

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Starting this Fall, District 205 students won’t have to worry about extra fees for athletics, music, arts, labs and AP exams.

“If a kid is thinking about taking the jump and do an extracurricular activity, and they decide not to because they’re afraid it’s going to strain the family finances, that’s a bad thing,” said Jay Zuzevich, the parent of a freshman student at Auburn High School.

“We think this is a powerful message to our students and families, that we’re going to do whatever it takes to ensure students have access to high quality experiences, both in the classroom as well as a co-curricular perspective,” said Rockford Public School Superintendent Ehren Jarrett.

Zuzevich believes the announcement is great news for all Rockford school families.

“She’s very much involved in drama and arts at CAPA, and that’s kind of her main focus in high school,” Zuzevich said of his daughter. “She loves the plays. She loves the singing. She loves the arts, so this is really good news for me.”

RPS will cover the fees through Illinois’ new Evidence-Based Funding formula, which allocates state dollars to schools based on financial need.

“We [are] now in our eighth consecutive year of holding the line on the property tax levy,” Jarrett explained. “The rate has been dropping every year for the last five consecutive years, and this will not be shifted to property tax owners.”

“Anything that can encourage kids to be involved in extracurricular activities, or going a little bit further than just school work, whether it’s sports or AP or the arts, that’s all a good thing,” Zuzevich said. “If we can get the district to pay for it and not have it come out of parents pockets, that’s great. That’s fantastic.”

High school students will have to pay for parking, driver’s ed and summer school.

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