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Raymond Central approves activities admission increase

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Mustang football

UPTICK: Raymond Central's school board approved an increase in entry fees for school activities, which will take effect starting this fall. (File Photo by Elsie Stormberg)

RAYMOND – Starting this fall, Raymond Central sports fans and families will pay a bit extra to watch the Mustangs compete. 

The Raymond Central Board of Education at its June 15 meeting approved new activity admission fees that will raise the cost of entry to varsity events for an adult from $5 to $7, and from $4 to $5 for students. 

The cost of yearly event passes – whether for adults, students or families – will increase as well. Family passes will rise from $115 to $175, and adult passes will jump from $45 to $65. Student passes will be broken into two tiers. Grades K-5 will pay $30 for a pass, and grades 6-12 will pay $40.

The price hikes at Raymond Central come in response to recently agreed-upon entrance fee increases for all Nebraska Capitol Conference sporting events, and Superintendent Lynn Johnson said it would make the most sense to remain consistent with conference prices at all conference and non-conference events.

“We have an unstated agreement that we are unified in what we do as a conference,” Johnson said. “It would make sense to change all of our admission prices, because it would get pretty confusing (for fans) on what’s a conference game and what’s not if we don’t.”

Raymond Central Activities Director Brian Gralheer said the new conference-wide price changes are the first increases in at least 15 years, and in that span of time, costs have risen for electricity, the supplies to run events and officials’ wages. 

According to documents submitted by Gralheer to the board, football officials’ payouts have risen from $55 per game 15 years ago to $100 per game today. 

“The reason the conference is doing this is, obviously, the cost of everything has gone up,” Johnson said. 

Board Member Cathy Burklund said she thought the $60 price increase for a family activities pass was excessive, but Gralheer explained that in comparison to other conference and area schools, the initial $115 family pass was on the low end. 

“There were a lot of schools that were already charging $150, $160, and they’re talking about rate hikes going up close to $200,” he said. 

Gralheer said he does not expect the price to continue increasing in coming years. 

“We obviously don’t want to do this annually,” Gralheer said. “And I guess you could view this as a dramatic thing, but hopefully this holds for the same amount of time (as the previous price change).”

In light of the May 24 mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, Superintendent Johnson said she and other administrators are on “more heightened alert” when it comes to school safety protocols. 

She said she has spoken in recent weeks with Lancaster County Chief Deputy Sheriff Ben Houchin about areas in which Raymond Central could improve its campus safety measures. 

Houchin told Johnson that it would be wise to give local law enforcement key access to the district’s buildings, rather than having to be buzzed in at the front desk. It would also be helpful for law enforcement to be able to tap into the district’s camera system.

“I think we could pretty easily implement those types of protocols,” Johnson said. 

She said she plans to meet with another sheriff’s deputy to review the district’s current crisis and safety plan and to discuss safety measures used at other schools that could be implemented into Raymond Central’s protocols. From there, the district’s safety committee would meet to review and discuss any new measures.

Johnson said the district could also benefit from training staff and students on revised imminent threat plans that consider variable responses to outside dangers, as opposed to the standard shelter-in-place and lockdown strategies. For example, students should know the risks and benefits of fleeing an imminent threat. 

“That’s going to be our goal for next year, to really drill thinking in the moment in a situational context,” Johnson said.

Board President Harriet Gould suggested that school safety become a regular agenda item at future board of education meetings.

Sam Crisler is a reporter for The Waverly News. Reach him via email at samuel.crisler@wahoonewspaper.com.

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