Skelton: Protect California's students from illegal fees
Even though a California Supreme Court ruling should have guaranteed equal educational opportunity, some K-12 students are still being gouged by illegal fees. George Skelton writes in Monday's column that new legislation and a lawsuit could help end that.
These fees can be charged for field trips, textbooks and art classes, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California says the state hasn't done enough to protect students.
"The state Department of Education, a defendant in the suit, even last year prepared a detailed memo advising which fees are legal and which illegal," Skelton writes. "But it seems to have been widely ignored by many schools."
Assemblyman Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) is pushing legislation to create a complaint process that would allow parents to appeal school fees. But it's facing an uphill climb, and Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill last year.
"A new school year starts soon," Skelton writes. "The Legislature and the governor should unequivocally tell principals that the state Supreme Court had it right 28 years ago: They should look for money someplace besides students' pockets."
All of Skelton's columns are here.
Photo: Kindergarten students listen to their teacher read them a story at the Bennett-Kew Elementary School in Inglewood. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times