« Women's Demonstration Prompts North Carolina District to Cancel Classes | Main | Louisville Mayor Urges Kentucky Lawmakers to Slow Down on K-12 Bills »

Public School Fees Can Add Up, Limit Access to Education, Report Finds

A new Louisiana Department of Education report urges schools in the Bayou State to exercise "extreme caution' when students' charging feesfor supplies and activities because the costs could hinder "equitable access to a quality education."

Click for more coverage of parent engagement in schools.

The online survey of Louisiana school districts and charter schools, in which 99 percent of local education agencies responded, found that all schools charged students for something, with the costs ranging from $95 for school supplies to $10 for locker fees. Some districts charge fees for parking, registration, and student identification cards.

About 10 percent of the survey respondents indicated that students unable to pay would be ineligible for certain services or activities and some of the fees are punitive.

One percent of respondents reported charging a fee for being late or tardy, while two districts assess fees for cellphone violations, according to the report. One of those districts, which was not identified in the report, fines students and parents up to $200 to obtain phones seized by school staff.

The report also detailed policies in other states, including California, where the law prohibits schools from charging any fees for educational activities.

"The assessment of fees to students attending public schools should be addressed with extreme caution in order to provide all students with equitable access to a quality education, particularly in a state whose student body is 71.3 percent economically disadvantaged," the report concludes.

The Daily Advertiser of Lafayette, La., first reported on the survey, which the education department prepared at the request of state lawmakers who wanted to know if fees were "economic barriers" to a quality public education.

According to the survey, nearly 75 percent of the state's districts charge students for extracurricular activities such as band and math clubs, with the money covering costs tied to membership fees, uniforms, and competition participation.

In most schools, administrators determine the fees, develop rules on how the money is spent, and decide when to grant waivers if a student isn't able to pay.

Here's a look at the report:

   Louisina School Fee Report by corey_c_mitchell on Scribd

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog

Advertisement

Most Viewed on Education Week

Categories

Archives

Recent Comments