|If you're one of the thousands of parents who
have kids in the Loudon County school system, you may be suffering
from sticker shock especially if your kid is in high school. On your
first days back to school you were most likely served with a list of
student fees you would need to pay. Depending on the school and the
grade, it could be hundreds of dollars. Fact of the matter is, you
don't have to pay student fees regardless of income.
The list of fees being charged has now reached a ridiculous level. Parking fees, locker fees, art fees, academic fees, freshman fees, sophomore fees and on and on and on. I'm just surprised they don't try to charge a fees fee.
For years schools have continued to come up with more and more ways to separate parents from their money. But last year The State Board Of Education render an opinion based on the law that clarified the whole school fee issue. Essentially the law allows schools to request fees but parents are not required to pay any fees.
THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR THE APPROVAL
OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS
0520-1-3-.03 Administration of Schools, Requirement B
(13) School Fees.
(a) School systems may request but not require payment of school fees. No fees may be required of any student, regardless of financial status (including eligibility for free or reduced price lunch), as a condition of attending public schools or using its equipment while receiving educational training. Before fees may be requested, they must be authorized by the board of education.
(b) Local board policy will determine activities during the school day and supplies that are required for participation in courses offered for credit or grade for which the board authorizes the requesting of fees. The board shall adopt a policy consistent with this rule by which to waive such fees for any student, including students eligible for free or reduced price school lunches.
1. At the beginning of the school year, at the time of enrollment, and/or at the time of requesting school fees, all students and their parents or legal guardians shall be given clear and prominent written notice of the fee waiver process.
2. The parent or legal guardian of a student shall be given the opportunity to pay all or any portion of the school fee if they desire. However, if the parent chooses not to pay a fee, the child may not be prevented from participating in the activity or course for which the fee is being requested.
(c) School fees are defined as:
1. Fees for
activities that occur during regular school hours, including field
trips, any portion of which fall within the school day;
Not only can schools not require fees, they are suppose to inform parents when fees are requested that they are not required to pay them. That information is suppose to be included with any fee requests.
This is just another example of how public education has just about run off the tracks. This fee business is as though each school is operating as a little government and making it's residents pay more and more taxes.
I'm sure many of you have already paid most if not all of the fees requested and if you wanted to pay them, that's fine. But maybe you paid them thinking they were required.
Any fees that were collected before last Thursday (8/12/10) were actually collected in violation of the law. Note the law states "Before fees may be requested, they must be authorized by the board of education." According to administrators who were in attendance at Thursday's board meeting, they have already been collecting fees. However, the board did not approve the fee schedules till Thursday's meeting.
Below are links to the Loudon County Fee Waiver Explanation and the Fee Waiver Application. The language in both the explanation and the application attempt to discourage waiver requests even asking for reasons for the request. I would think a good reason to request a waiver would be because you don't want to pay them.