School District considering debt collector to recoup unpaid fees
(KUTV) — Parents with kids in the Nebo School District could soon be getting calls from debt collectors.
Nebo Schools is considering hiring a company to help collect unpaid fees.
Last year, taxpayers in the district covered $100,000 in unpaid fees that parents did not pay.
"As we get larger, we’re going to have more unpaid fees and realize this is becoming a problem in our school district," said Lana Hiskey, a spokesperson for the school district.
Some fees are small—for textbooks, labs and parking. Others are as much as $1,000 for things like school trips and competitions.
Hiskey said sometimes fee collection is done based on the "honor system."
“If a student tells, 'Oh, I did, I paid the finance office,' and so, you know, they think it’s paid and go ahead on the trip and then afterwards trying to collect that becomes a bit of a nightmare," Hiskey said.
"Educators aren’t very good debt collectors."
Nebo schools tried multiple times to collect on the fees, but up to this point, there’s been no consequences for unpaid fees, Hiskey said.
“It really isn’t about the student at that point, it really is about parents that are deliberately not paying their fees,” she said.
Jamie Steck has three kids in the school district. One of his daughters runs track and he says he pays the fees every year.
"When my wife writes the check for the fees, it’s usually big," Steck said.
Steck was unhappy to find out taxpayers had, so far, been footing the bill for parents' unpaid fees.
“Yeah, that’s a big concern as a taxpayer, for sure," he said.
If a debt collector is hired, the contract will be for five years. Hiskey says this will be for parents deliberately not paying the fees. There are payment programs and families in special programs will not be asked to pay.
Hiksey said Nebo reached out to larger districts for input on collection methods, but said they didn't get any response.
Here is the full proposal the district put out seeking input from debt collectors before making their final decision: