ACLU Challenges Fees Charged for School Activities

Concerned that San Diego schools are not complying with California’s laws requiring a free public education, the ACLU today sent a letter to the San Diego Unified School District expressing concern about fees charged by district schools for athletic programs and other student activities.

The ACLU has been investigating complaints about improperly charged fees, and has discovered that:

  • Pt. Loma High School requires parents to make a $300 “fair share” contribution to cover band expenses
  • Clairemont High School requires student athletes to get physical exams from private doctors; Mira Mesa charges $20 for required physicals; and Patrick Henry requests a $25 “donation” for physicals, which are required for certain school sports
  • La Jolla High, Pt. Loma High, and Lincoln High require students to purchase ASB cards to be eligible to play in school sports
  • Scripps Ranch High charges students playing on its lacrosse team $300 in dues, and requires them to purchase spirit packs for $50; lacrosse players at Serra High must pay dues of $250/year
  • Cheer members at Clairemont High must pay a minimum of $1097/year, with extra costs for additional equipment and competition uniforms; Crawford High cheerleaders have to pay $350/year plus approximately $50 for cheer camp; Serra High cheerleaders must pay $455-$485 for uniforms, $335 for summer cheer camp, $500 for coaches’ donations, plus an additional $395 for optional uniform items
  • Pt. Loma and Scripps Ranch Highs’ class syllabi for various classes state that students are required to take the AP exam, which cost $86 in 2010
  • Lincoln High students are required to pay “class dues” of $3 to fund class activities, and
  • At Lincoln High and Pt. Loma High, students are required to purchase an ASB card in order to participate in any extracurricular activities.

The ACLU requested that the district promptly investigate these matters to ensure that schools collect only those fees specifically allowed by the California Constitution, and that schools refund any fees that have been improperly charged.

The ACLU thanks the folks at the Supportive Parents Information Network(SPIN), for alerting us to this important issue.

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San Diego Union-Tribune article on school fees

Letter to SDUSD General Counsel 8-3-10