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Dracut School Committee votes to refund nearly $30,000 in athletic fees to families

Apr 20, 2020 10:20PM ● By Lisa Redmond

DRACUT – The School Committee voted last week to waive all spring sports user fees, regardless if school reopens, so that nearly $30,000 will be refunded to 122 families who have already paid tathletic fees.

“Even if we go back to school there will be no cost,’’ School Superintendent Steven Stone told the committee during its remote meeting.

The refunds will come from the athletic revolving fund or the operating budget, he said.

While the refunds are the “ethical, moral thing to do,’’ Committee member Betsy Murphy asked Stone how the school district hasn’t been able to waive the user athletic user fees in the past four or five years.

Due to closing all schools in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, Stone explained can refund the fees because the school district hasn’t had the expenses associated with spring sports, such as paying for transportation and coaching fees.

But Committee member Joseph Wilkie said some coaches, especially now, financially depend on those stipends. The $60,000 in coaching stipends for spring sports should be discussed further when more is known about the financial impact of COVID-19.

Stone said there are still “a lot of moving parts’’ involved in reacting to this health crisis, the most important being whether students will be returning to school this school year.

The committee will revisit refunds for transportation, preschool tuition and performing arts user fees at its next meeting on April 27.

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