RPS board votes to eliminate student fees for 2020-2021 school year

ROCKFORD, Ill (WIFR) -- Students in Rockford Public Schools will no longer be required to pay fees for arts, music, athletics, lab fees or AP placement exams starting next school year.

RPS 205 cuts fees

The RPS board voted to eliminate most of those student fees. Students will be required to pay for optional items like parking permits, driver education classes or summer school.

RPS 205 Superintendent Ehren Jarrett says this decision will allow students to have a complete school experience. "Far too often we saw students that were maybe making a tough decision with their family about whether they could afford to play a second sport, or if they could afford to take that advanced placement exam," he tells 23 News. "We think this is a powerful message to students and families that we're going to do whatever it takes to ensure students all have access to the most high quality experiences both in the classroom, as well as from a co-curricular perspective."

The costs for the programs will be covered by an increase in the state's new funding model called evidence-based funding.

Jarrett says this is the right move for students, and if they want to be involved cost should not be barrier. Families agree.

"Two children, you know both heavily involved in school this is probably going to end up helping our family by saving us $500 a year," says Marty Pierce, who is a worship pastor at Rock Church, and the father to two RPS 205 students. "To me this is nothing but positive for 205."

His kids are involved in track and field, swimming and the band program. He believes this will allow other students to join in as well.