The California Constitution provides for a system of free public education. The California Education Code states that "no school official shall require any pupil . . . to purchase instructional materials for the pupil's use in the school."(CA Ed Code sec. 60070)
Along similar lines, the California Department of Education has set regulations that provide that students "shall not be required to pay any fee, deposit or other charge" for educational or extracurricular activities, unless the fee is expressly authorized by law." (CA Code of Regs., Title 5, sec, 350)
Permissible Fees include:
**Parking on school grounds (authorized to charge the fee for processing applications)
**Field trips to other states, the District of Columbia, or a foreign country, as long as a student is not excluded due to an inability to pay
**Materials for art class, wood shop, etc., if permitted to take home whatever is made
**Lost or damaged books
**Caps and gowns
**Lost student IDs
**Transportation to and from school
**Generic gym clothing in the school's adopted colors
Unauthorized Fees include:
**Gym clothing with school logo, if the specific uniform with logo is required in order to be considered properly dressed for class. As described above, students can, however, be required to purchase a generic gym uniform (i.e., without logo) in the school's adopted colors.
**Student IDs required for use on campus or for admission to school activities.
**Fees for necessary equipment, such as paper, blue books, mechanical drawing sets, etc.
**Art and wood shop class materials (except to the extent students are allowed to take class projects home after completion)
Can a school require PE Uniforms?
Students may be required to use physical education uniforms of standardized designs/colors, but the school cannot require that the uniform be purchased from the school, and the Education Code specifically provides that a student's grade may not be impacted due to a failure to wear the standardized uniform if the failure to do so arises "from circumstances beyond the control" of the student (e.g., an inability to afford one). Cal. Education Code sec. 49066(c).
To the extent that the uniform is specialized in that it contains specific logos and/or if students are required to purchase the uniform from the school, payments for such clothes would be viewed as unauthorized student fees.
A "waiver" system is not permissible.
(1) The student must be able to use these P.E. clothes outside of school;
(2) The P.E. clothes should not require a school logo;
(3) The school can not require the student to write anything on these P.E. clothes, including the student's name; and
(4) The student's grade is not affected if the student is unable to obtain P.E. clothes for reasons outside of the control of the student. District school sites may impose a general design requirement for P.E. clothing (design and color only), for tops, bottoms, and socks. School sites can also require students to wear appropriate footwear, e.g., no sandals or other open-toed footwear. Students should be allowed to purchase such general design P.E. clothing from the school, or through other means. Students who cannot afford the general design P.E. clothing should be provided the clothing free of charge while assuring confidentiality in the student’s request.
Does AB1575 prohibit charges for Field Trips?
No. An example of such a permissible fee includes fees related to field trips under Education Code section 35330. Fees under this provision include those for field trips or excursions in connection with courses of instruction, or, school-related social, educational, cultural, athletic, or school band activities. Although the Education Code allows a District to charge a fee for the direct transportation costs and other costs incurred in association with a field trip, like admission fees, a student may not be denied the opportunity to participate in the field trip for failure to pay the fee.
Are AP/IB Exam fees permissible according to AB1575?
Yes. Fees associated with Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Diploma examinations are permissible, under certain conditions. Pursuant to the CDE Fiscal Management Advisory 11-01 (“CDE Fiscal Advisory 11-01”), students/families’ payment of the fees for such exams is lawful, so long as:
(1) Taking the exam is not a course requirement;
(2) The exam results have no impact on a pupil's grade or credit in a course; and
(3) Eligible economically disadvantaged high school pupils who receive school district funding towards the exam fee shall pay $5.00 of the fee.
May a school require the purchase of PAL stickers in order to participate in athletics or for admission to school events?
Schools may not require the purchase of PAL stickers. The District may inform parents that "their donation to defer the costs of their students' PAL membership, $[cost of PAL membership], is encouraged.”