Heavy Fees

When students enroll at the beginning of the school year, all parents must pay the basic fees to attend. Although, some students may be paying more than others due to class selection, the standard fee is $213. This fee includes the books students annotate for English, textbook rental, the mandatory activity/participation fee, and an ID card.

Students who are financially struggling are allowed to have these fees waived. With the waiver, a parent will only pay $90 which covers the activity/participation fee in order for the student to attend a Shawnee Mission high school. Elective and English fees are not permitted to be waived. For example, the $25 art class fee must be paid.

“Because the state has cut so much funding, the school board has implemented that all students must pay the ninety dollar activity fee,” said counselor Cindy Neely.

If a parent or guardian is still unable to pay the $90 fee, they may attempt to set up a payment plan. In the past, Dr. Charles McLean allowed this system.

The only way to obtain the waiver is to be a holder of a Medical Card or a recipient of Medicaid. A Medical Card is a form of health insurance. Some jobs do not provide adequate health insurance so parents apply for Medical Cards for their children. Medicaid is also a state-funded form of health insurance but leans more toward those who are financially struggling.

If fees are unable to be payed off, students are not allowed to walk at graduation until some sort of payment plan has been arranged with an administrator. In the past, students’ diplomas were held and they were unable to walk at graduation due to the issue of money. Although not being able to walk at graduation may seem a bit extreme, the administration at West does a lot to help seniors with paying for items that are needed to graduate. Administration has helped students with financial issues waive their cap and gown fees.

Students who carry Medical Cards may be able to obtain free and reduced lunch. Free and reduced lunch is calculated by the total income of a home and how many family members. There are more students on free and reduced lunch at West than there are students with Medical Cards.

Once a student is on free and reduced lunch, he or she can apply for the SAT/ACT and college application waiver. The ACT exam costs $36.50, students with free and reduced lunch can apply for the waiver that will allow them to take the test twice for free.

Students who are either supporting themselves, considered homeless, or are in a financial crisis can apply for the McKinney Vento Program. These students receive transportation to and from school and are set up with homes to stay in momentarily. The program offers extra attention with tutoring and helps students with receiving school supplies. The McKinney Vento program goes above and beyond than just helping out with fee waivers. Once a student is on McKinney Vento, the school fees are waived, they automatically go on a free or reduced lunch and receives help with doctor check-ups and anything health related. Students a part of the program receive a cap and gown waiver and administration helps out by giving the seniors yearbooks.

The counselors hand out Harvesters Sacks to students who are in need of food. The pre-packaged meals are not meant to feed a whole family, but are enough to feed a student for the weekend or so. The sacks include: a can of fruit, Vienna Sausages, crackers, and cookies. The counselors do not keep tabs of the students who come in and grab the sacks. Instead, throughout the year a collective number of sacks are tallied.