It isn't a sure thing yet, but Alpine School District officials are talking about charging some students $4 every year to use their school libraries.
The new fee, if approved, would affect students in grades 7-12 and would be used to help the district purchase and maintain a new computer system.Superintendent Steven Baugh said that although he hasn't decided whether he will recommend the school board approve the fee, it is an appropriate charge, because students would benefit from the new computer system, which would allow them access to books in all of the district's high school libraries.
"The system comes to us highly recommended by the Utah County Library Association. It's an excellent system and we'd like to move on it," Baugh said. "We think the service it will give students outweighs the cost. I would like to see student fees kept down, but a $4 library fee is reasonable."
Anyone interested in talking to school board members about the library fee or any other issue can do so at a public comment session at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Lehi Elementary School, 765 N. Center Street, Lehi.
The library fee is part of a group of student fees being proposed for school board approval. All of the other charges are the same as they have been in the past. Baugh said the average student will pay about $60 for everything from locker fees to book rental costs.
The library charge could range from $1 to $4. Baugh said he has considered charging less than the maximum, but district staff members who proposed the computer system support the full charge.
"I see two or three reasons why $4 may not be excessive," Baugh said. "I still have some questions about it."
David Walton, district media coordinator, said Alpine's library computer system is out of date and broken down. The new system would cost about $260,000 and about $36,000 a year to maintain.
"The thing I believe students will gain is the ability to use their own school library will be enhanced."
"Our district defeated two voted leeways" that would have increased property taxes to benefit schools, said Board member Jan Lewis. "We have to get fees from somewhere."
Baugh will make his recommendation about the proposal and the board will likely vote on it at its business meeting on May 9.