Time and time again, people have told me Upper Moreland is a close-knit community.
Some of the stories we publish on Upper Moreland - Willow Grove Patch do reflect how such a close-knit community can band together and overcome obstacles to ensure hope for a better future.
Since the school district's superintendent, Dr. Robert Milrod, introduced the Activity Fee proposal at the school board's Jan. 18 public Programs and Services committee meeting, there have been a large number of community members in attendance. In fact, there were over 60 people who attended this week's committee meeting, leaving standing room only.
A great deal of the concern is that the proposed Activity Fee is a "pay-to-play" solution that would require any Upper Moreland Public School student interested in pursuing a co-curricular activity of the school district to participate in the Activity Fee.
But it's not so much the controversy that exemplifies a close-knit community, rather it's the fact the community cares enough to come out and discuss the matter among themselves, their elected body of officials and the institution in which their children go to school.
In other words, this community cares about its future.
And, according to the discussions, that's exactly what the Activity Fee is trying to preserve. At every meeting about the proposal, and the recent superintendent memo, it has been underlined that the future of co-curriculars in the school district is in jeopardy, due to a lack of funding.
However, this week's packed committee meeting revealed that some parents are hesitant to buy into the fee. Of the major concerns, some parents felt it would be unfair to families that can’t afford to play, while other parents felt it would be unfair to families that do pay while others don’t.
There was an issue over the scale of the fee in regards to co-curriculars that don’t have as much funding needs as others. There was also an issue with how the district and the public communicate.
At this point, no answers can be given, but the school board has recognized the issues and is expected to deal with them through its Ad Hoc pre-activity fee committee.
And, while the board and superintendent seem to be backing the Activity Fee as a solution, they have also asked the public for any other suggestions.
As Milrod said at the last committee meeting, such decisions about the future are up to the will of the people.
Whatever the solution may be for the future of co-curriculars in Upper Moreland, the input from a close-knit community can see to its outcome.
Below, you will find a Patch Poll, asking your opinion so far on the existence of a district-wide activity fee. If you’d like to make a further point, please do so in the comments section below.