Buy your own band uniform

Budget committee wants to save $10 million

By Elliot Mann

A Rochester school committee is throwing a few haymakers at extracurricular activities.

The Rochester school district needs to cut about $10 million from the district’s $155 million budget for the 2009-2010 school year, and the committee charged with recommending how to do so met again Thursday. It reviewed 16 ways to cut extracurricular offerings.


Preliminary suggestions with the strongest support include raising athletic and activity fees by at least 10 percent and cutting coach buses for trips, used currently when students travel more than 60 miles to an activity.

Combined, those changes would save the district $79,000. However, much of the group favored raising athletic and activity costs by 20 percent, pushing that number to $113,000.

Rochester athletic fees now range from $80 to $175, depending on the sport. Fees have inflated statewide as school districts tread water during troublesome budgetary times. Since the 1999-2000 school year, Rochester athletic fees have jumped 66 percent.

Other ideas under consideration include cutting district-bought athletic and band uniforms; reducing extracurricular budgets 10 percent; eliminating some band activities; and canceling cheerleading.

The committee will analyze seven more categories: human resources, instructional staffing, instructional programming, staff development, support services, administrative services and transportation.

A meeting Nov. 20 will look at staff development and administrative services, two issues that could become quite contentious.

By the end of the process, the school board will cherry-pick final reductions from the committee’s list. The final recommendations will be sent to Superintendent Romain Dallemand by Jan. 13 and presented a week later to the school board.

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