Previous Discussion Topics
Instrument Fees

Aug 7, 1998
Dear Boosters,

Our school district board of trustees is thinking they might charge
students for use of school owned instruments (tubas, percussion, horns, etc).

If this happens, I'm inclined to think that the district should also charge
students for using other school owned equipment like athletic equipment/uniforms,
cheerleader uniforms, lab equipment and library books.

The board of trustees wants the revenue from "rental fees" to go into
the general operating fund and not into the campus band department. In
contrast, all gate receipts from all athletic events go into a separate
district athletic fund, not general operations.

Actually, I don't like the idea of rental fees at all for anything. I think
the district should provide all of the resources that are necessary to teach
the curriculum. And yes, I think that includes music instruments for all music
students, not just the big expensive ones.

I'd like to know how its done in other school districts.

Bill Tandy in Austin, TX
Westwood Area Band Boosters
tandy@wstandy.com

Aug 7, 1998
Our Students pay a use fee for each instrument they use. My daughter plays oboe
in concert band and cymbals marching.  We pay a use fee for both.  My younger
daughter plays bassoon in the middle school and we pay a use fee for that as
well.  

I understand the district's obligation to provide equipment and materials to
teach the curriculum. If, however, the choice is pay or eliminate band or
orchestra from the curriculum, we will pay gladly.  

The use fee that we pay is for the exclusive use of the band for replacement of
instruments.  The district doesn't touch the money.  

This money is not used for repair of instruments other than normal wear and
adjustments.  Students and directors inspect the instruments at time of issue. 
If sousaphones or euphoniums are dented or woodwinds have torn pads or other
instruments are otherwise abused, the student pays for the repair when the
instrument is returned.

Works well for us.

Joey Phelps
Band Dad
The Pride of Haltom High
Fort Worth, Texas

Aug 7, 1998
 
Bill,

You are probably aware that A.I.S.D. charges a $20 instrument fee 
which I think is used for instrument insurance and repairs.  I think 
$50 is a little hefty, especially with all the other expenses that 
parents pay.  On the other hand, if I had to buy my daughter an oboe 
(I've already bought her alto sax for marching and my son's trumpet), 
I'd have a big problem....in that case, I'd be glad to pay $50. ;-)

Julie Covey
Band Mom
LBJ Jaguar Band
Kealing Hornet Band
Austin, TX 
steamroller@goplay.com

Aug 7, 1998

  Castle does not have a user fee in place yet, but our booster
organization is seriously considering implementing one.  I suggested it
based on what other bands are doing.   Most students at our 
school our responsible for providing their own instruments.  Exceptions
would be percussion equipment (other than a snare), Sousaphones, 
Mellophones and a few others that slip my mind right now.  My oldest
daughter (Jill), benefits from the school's percussion equipment and my
youngest (Tina), marches a school mellophone.  We purchased a double 
French horn for Tina at considerable personal expense for concert band. 
  I am a firm believer in the user fee concept.  If my kids are getting the
benefit, and in many cases (drum heads, mallets, etc...) tearing them up,
why shouldn't I be expected to shoulder some of the load just as all the 
other band parents are doing when they purchase and maintain their
children's instruments?

>  The board of trustees wants the revenue from "rental fees" to go into
>  the general operating fund and not into the campus band department. 
   That would be a bad mistake!  The rental fees would be most beneficial
to your band, if they were used to continually purchase/replace worn-out
school-owned instruments.

>  Actually, I don't like the idea of rental fees at all for anything. I think
>  the district should provide all of the resources that are necessary to
teach
>  the curriculum. And yes, I think that includes music instruments for all 
> music students, not just the big expensive ones.
  I like the concept, but the reality is that there is no such thing as a free
public education anymore (if there every really was).  I have an intense 
dislike for the way we have made our children be salesmen in order
to participate in any school function.  That said, here's the flip side:
  We have parents that do not pay any fees to our booster group
because they say their child is "entitled" to a free education.
Of course their kids were always the first to buy t-shirts, videos, etc.
It is one thing when a family is financially disadvantaged and 
payment is not an option. We have scholarships for that.   It's another thing 
when they thumb their noses at us and laugh all the way to the bank.
  We were forced to include provisions that non-payment of fees would
result in that student not being allowed to purchase any of the extras,
or in the case of Seniors, any of the special perks that go with their 
last year, plaques, senior dinners, etc.. 

>  I'd like to know how its done in other school districts.
So I guess the short answer at our school Bill, is
Band students/parents= salespeople
Band booster officers=bill collectors

Ron Hanes
Castle Marching Knights
Newburgh, IN
RonH2112@aol.com 

Aug 7, 1998

Ya'll,

Could I respectfully ask what business any booster group has in charging fees
for school owned equipment?  In CCSD the equipment is purchased by the
boosters and becomes school property (complete with barcode tag id) and is
reserved for the sole use of that school whose booster group made the purchase
(so "downtown" person can grab it for a "needy" program.)

John Spitler
Director
Moultrie MS
Mt. Pleasant, SC
john_spitler@smtpgw.musc.edu

Aug 8, 1998
  
At Sterling students who use school instruments pay a $30 per year fee.
This is mandated by the district and the money is used to (partially) cover
the costs of maintenance and repairs.
 
George Yenetschi
varcelia@email.msn.com

Aug 8, 1998 

At Pocono Mountain, there are no fees for participation in curricular
music or for marching band (or jazz band or any of the other winter
ensembles, all of which are extracurricular). 

Students are usually expected to own their own instruments, though those
who use school instruments - contrabass clarinets, tubas, mellophones,
etc. - do so at no charge. Students are responsible for day-to-day
maintenance AND should they damage the instrument, they are responsible
for paying for its repair by the instrument repar guy who comes around
on a regular basis. Normal wear and tear is expected, and the director,
I suppose, is the arbiter of what "normal" is. The kids are usually
rather careful with the instruments, as I'm sure most fear The Wrath of
Searfoss more than any financial penalty - which of course would be paid
by Mom and Dad, who would have their own wrath to dispense.
 
John Matras
Pocono Mountain HS Bands dad
Swiftwater, PA
jmatras@epix.net 

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