After more than 20 months of discussion, private schools are pleased with a new activity fees agreement they’ve worked on with Teton County School District No. 1.

The memorandum allows private school students to take part in public school sports, drama, and speech and debate activities, and is more transparent than previous requests.

Previous agreements for middle and high school students were discussed by the district’s board of trustees in August and September 2015 and included Jackson Hole Community School, Teton Science Schools, Jackson Hole Classical Academy and Timber Ridge Academy.

At the time the News&Guide reported that the memorandums of understanding for middle school students caught involved parties off guard and came as a surprise, although they were eventually signed and paid for.

Private school administrators were confused with how trustees came to original payment amounts and wanted a breakdown of additional costs that occur when private school students join public school teams. The past agreement listed expenses like bus driver salary, bus maintenance, coach salary, activities director salary, activities director assistant, supplies, administration fees, travel expenses, tickets or fees, uniforms and officials as determining factors.

They say they are grateful that the new memorandum has solved the confusion and factors in the cost of participating.

“We all believe deeply in providing the best opportunities to all children in our community,” Nancy Lang, the Head of Journeys School, wrote in an email. “I’d say we landed in a very positive and fair place.”

Lang said the strong collaboration among school leaders — a team from the district and a representative from each school — was a “huge success” and that the formula is “more transparent and more predictable.”

Amy Fulwyler, the head of Jackson Hole Community School, called the effort collaborative and said the new memorandum lays out a clear structure and rationale for how the yearly fee will be calculated.

Gillian Chapman, the superintendent of Teton County School District, agreed.

“Updating the Memorandum of Understanding was a collaborative effort, and I am pleased that together the independent schools and the school district are able to provide opportunities for all of our community’s students to participate in activities and athletics, regardless of the school they attend,” she wrote in an email.

The amount each school will pay the district next year is not finalized yet and will depend on participation rates, and will go into effect this summer.

The MOU calculates a student participating in each activity as one “participation.” A student who participates in three activities per year, for example, would count as three “participations.”

Contact Kylie Mohr at 732-7079, or @JHNGschools.

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