State Clamps Down on Fees

Gaby Dinh, Web Editor

Once a common practice in Diamond Bar High School, students paying fees for extracurricular activities will now become a thing of the past. In order to comply with the California Department of Education’s rules and state regulations, the school has made sure that all students will be able to participate in all school activities without having to pay mandatory fees.

A complaint was filed with the CDE about the school’s compulsory fees for athletic uniforms and football summer camp. The CDE reviewed the case and responded to the Walnut Valley Unified School District in October with the order that the district should refund the fees charged to students.

According to a San Gabriel Valley Tribune story published in mid-November, WVUSD is currently in the process of providing a solution for the case.

“[The district and the school] are seeking clarification from the CDE and are working closely with them to resolve this matter,” DBHS Principal Catherine Real said. “We are still within our required time frame to respond.”

The CDE’s ruling is based on the California assembly bill AB 1575 that “prohibits a pupil enrolled in school from being required to pay a fee, deposit, or other charge not specifically authorized by law.” The law went into effect last year and strengthened regulations that prohibit charging fees for public education, thus ensuring that all students have equal access to all on-campus activities.

School activities will now be monitored to guarantee that state requirements are being followed. For example, any extra credit that teachers offer that involves students paying for something will no longer be allowed, and club dues that are not in compliance with the educational code have been eliminated. Even if there is a free alternative in addition to the extra credit, it still will not be allowed.

“Ultimately what the school is required to do is to provide a free education. No educational activity can involve a mandatory cost,” Real said. “What I’d like for students and parents to know is that it’s important to [Diamond Bar High School] that the students have a free and appropriate education.”

DBHS is not the only school that a complaint has been filed against regarding pupil fees. According to the Sacramento Bee, in the past twelve months, parents and activists across the state have filed complaints to multiple school districts on the grounds that students in public schools should not be “paying [for] items such as classroom supplies, workbooks, and uniforms.”

Real has been taking measures to ensure that further complaints will not be filed against the school. One of her first steps was to send a mass email to the staff that explained what the staff must do to ensure that they follow the state requirements.

“The number one goal right now is to provide guidance and training to coaches, teachers, and advisors to provide a free education to students,” Real stated. “The staff has been working very well. We have been collaborating as a staff and with the district in order to remain in compliance with California Ed Code.”