Monday, March 19, 2007

Wisconsin Man Pays 30-Year-Old Debt for Missing Algebra Book, Unpaid P.E. Fee

Jeff Rolson is just relieved he didn't get sent to the principal's office. The 40-something Rolson last week dropped by Superior Senior High School, where he graduated in 1977, to get a copy of his transcript for a plumbing apprenticeship. That's when he found out he had two outstanding debts $7.95 for a missing algebra book and $5 for an unpaid physical-education fee.

A secretary told him he had to pay up before he could get his transcript.

"I told her, 'Do you realize this was 30 years ago?'" he said.

Rolson says he doesn't understand why the school didn't contact him earlier. After all, he still lives in Superior and his daughter attends the school.

"Nobody contacted me, so I ended up paying the $13 to get my transcript," he said.

State law prevents a school district from withholding documents such as transcripts and diplomas, said district superintendent Jay Mitchell. But it's not uncommon for districts to try to collect unpaid fees and fines before providing documents, he said.

Rolson caught one break, though.

"She did forget the $2 fee for the transcript," he said.

He's also grateful the school didn't charge him interest.

"It was 13 bucks. If they had charged me interest all these years compounded for 30 years I don't know what the bill might have been," he said.

Maybe he didn't have the algebra book after all.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.

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