• Frequently Asked Questions

    The subject of student fees, charges, deposits, donations and fundraising related to courses and activities has been at the forefront of public attention locally and nationally. Following are responses to some of the frequently asked Questions:

    Question:  May a school still receive donations from parents and guardians?

    Answer:  Yes. School districts, schools, programs, and classes can and do seek and accept donations of funds and property, and this practice is permissible as long as the donation is truly voluntary and in no way a prerequisite to participation in the program or activity. Therefore, any statement or explanation related to a donation that could lead a reasonable person to believe the donation may not be truly voluntary is to be avoided. Access to educational programs must not be tied to either the willingness or the ability to pay a fee or request a fee waiver.

    Question:  May a school still fundraise?

    Answer:  Yes. As with donations, school districts, schools, programs and classes can and do engage in fundraising activities and programs, and this practice is also permissible as long as the raising of funds is voluntary. You may require students to attend a fundraising event; however, if they are unable to raise funds for the event, you cannot prevent them from participating in an educational activity. It is important to distinguish required fundraising from required attendance at fundraising event as attendance at a fundraising even is the same as attendance at practices, games, rehearsals, or performances which are all an expected aspect of participation. For example, expecting the members of a vocal ensemble to attend a fundraising concert that is on its calendar of events does not violate the “free school” guarantee, so long as attendance is the only requirement. Another example is when members of an athletic team are expected to help out with a fundraising sale at a Back to School Night or Open House – just as a coach can expect players to attend practices and games, the coach can expect players to attend a fundraising event as long as the requirement is to attend rather than to raise money as a condition of participation in the activity or program

    Question:  May a school charge fees for uniforms for teams sports?

    Answer:  No. A school must provide a free uniform to any student who is a member of the school team in question. Further, the free uniform must be substantially the same uniform as those which are made available for purchase. You can allow students to purchase their own uniforms if they want to purchase uniforms; however, buying a uniform cannot be a requirement to participate in a sport.

    Question:  May a school require team members to purchase Spirit Packs?

    Answer:  No. Spirit packs may be sold; however, you cannot require a student to purchase a spirit pack as a prerequisite to participate in a sport. If there are practice uniforms, etc., which are required, they must be provided free of charge to any student who is a member of the school team in question

    Question:  What if a school only charges fees to those students who can afford them; and has a waiver process for those who cannot?

    Answer:  A waiver process based on financial need or inability to pay does not make an otherwise impermissible fee permissible

    Question:  May a school charge fees for things?

    Answer:  Yes. There are specific fees, charges and deposits are that legally permissible because they are specifically permitted by law. There are specific fees, charges and deposits that are legally permissible:

    Question:  Students who run for and serve on ASB have been required in the past to purchase ASB stickers/cards, is this still ok to do?

    Answer:  No. ASB stickers/cards are optional item for all students. Students cannot be required to buy ASB stickers/cards in order to run for an office or as a condition to participate in a club/organization or try out for a team or sport.

    Question:  Certain clubs have collected dues from students in the past because they pay annual registrations to organizations on the national level. Is it still ok to collect these dues from students?

    Answer:  Students cannot be required to pay the dues as a condition for membership in the club at the school level. If the national level club/organization collects dues, the students should be directed to pay them directly to the organization, but membership in the national level club/organization cannot be a requirement for membership in the school level club.

    Question:  In the past some classes like Art or Ceramics have charged each student $10 to $20 for extra materials for creations that students take home and keep. Is it still ok to charge students for extra materials?

    Answer:  Students can be charged for materials if they will take home what they make. However, students should be able to make things they do not take home if they do not want to pay for extra materials. Understandably, this means that students (1) make things that that they do not take home and we throw it away; or (2) in the case of a ceramics course, they cannot fire their clay items in the kiln, so that the clay remains reusable.

    Question:  Does the student fees policy apply to club sports such as Water Polo?
    Answer:  Club sports are not sponsored by the school or district and, therefore, they are not subject to the same fee limitations as any other extracurricular activity. 

    Question:  I have a question that isn't answered above, what should I do?

    Answer:  Parents, guardians, students, faculty, and staff should direct questions about school-specific matters needing clarification/explanation directly to the school's principal. Principals should contact the Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services or the Deputy Superintendent for guidance and support with responses to school-specific questions about student fees, charges, deposits, donations and fundraising.

Last Modified on September 4, 2013