Spelling out a state law that prohibits public schools from charging fees for supplies and activities, the California Department of Education has issued a memo detailing what students and families can and can't be required to pay or provide for school.
The law, AB 1575, went into effect Jan. 1, resulting from the settlement of a lawsuit against the state over the California Constitution's guarantee of a free public education.
In a memo sent last week, Deputy State Superintendent Jeannie Oropeza explains, for example, that schools can't require students to purchase gym uniforms or charge for extracurricular activities. Nor can they create a two-tier system of education, with students accessing the higher level by paying or providing supplies that the school does not offer. And, the memo states, schools cannot offer extra credit or privileges in exchange for money or donations of goods or services.
The memo stresses that contributions of money, supplies or services must be strictly voluntary.
To read a copy of the memo, go to www.mercurynews.com/education.