With the dog days of summer here, few people have back to school on their mind. However, Muscatine Community School District’s (MCSD’s) administrators have worked hard since school got out to ensure the 2019-2020 school year goes as smoothly as possible for all families. At their most recent board meeting, MCSD decided to reduce school fees and simplify supply lists for the upcoming school year, a move that will benefit all students.
According to Associate Superintendent Mike McGrory, MCSD will dramatically reduce their school fees for students at all grade levels. He elaborated that for the 2019-2020 school years, fees would reduce, “from $85 to $40 for grades nine through twelve, and from $55 to $40 for grades kindergarten through eight.”
MCSD felt reducing school fees would benefit students because it would save families a significant amount of money, helping all families, but especially those in poverty, keep school affordable and accessible. McGrory then expanded on those thoughts:
Dr. Riibe felt that this will help alleviate financial burdens on our Muskie families. We know that over fifty percent of our families automatically qualify for free or reduced meals and fees. We also know that there are many of our families who do not qualify for free or reduced meals or fees, but yet struggle to make ends meet. It was the hope of administration that in doing this . . . would help diminish the financial burden placed on families in getting their students ready for the start of school.
Along with making school less expensive by reducing school fees, MCSD also plans to lower the cost of education for families by making school lists for all grades smaller. McGrory shared, “The school supply list requirements for grades K-8 has been significantly updated and reduced to include only two or three required items and one optional. For K-8 grades, the school supply list contains an optional backpack, one spiral notebook, and one pack of pencils with an added Trapper Keeper notebook for grades 6-8.”
McGrory cited similar reasons for making this change. “District administration felt that by having school supplies purchased by the district and significantly reducing the back-to-school expense for its families that this will ease the financial burden placed on our families in getting students ready to start the new school year.”
With these changes in place, MCSD has taken two important steps to making school more accessible than ever to every student in the district. By reducing the fees to attend school, families can save more of their money and put it towards other necessary expenses. Similarly, shortening school supply lists makes it easier for parents to ensure their children have everything they need to succeed when they go back to school without having to sink a sizable amount of money into it.
MCSD administration takes pride that they have made school more affordable for students of all socioeconomic statuses. “We are excited by the positive impact the reduction in fees and supply requirements will have on our Muskie families,” said McGrory.