Requests for Fees and Donations
School Fees Information For Parents/Guardians
The Constitution of the State of California requires that we provide a public education to students free of charge. A student’s right to a free education is for all school/educational activities, whether curricular or extracurricular, and whether a student gets a grade for the activity or class. Subject to certain exceptions, a student’s right to a free public education means that we cannot require you or your students to purchase materials, supplies, equipment, or uniforms for any school activity, nor can we require you or your student to pay security deposits for access, participation, materials, or equipment. Your school may require students to attend a fundraising event; however, if they are unable to raise funds for the event, we cannot prevent students from participating in an educational activity.
The following are specific exceptions to the prohibition on fees, charges, and deposits at the kindergarten through 12-grade level (some legal provisions related to child care programs and adult education are not listed here). These fees, charges, and deposits are legally permissible because they are specifically permitted by law. (Note: This list is based on legal authorizations, but the inclusion of a permissible fee, charge, or deposit on this list does not necessarily mean that District schools currently assess the fee, charge, or deposit).
The following fees, charges, and deposits are permissible:
- Charges for optional attendance as a spectator at a school or District sponsored activity. (Hartzell,35 Cal.3d 899, 911, fn. 14).
- Charges for food served to students, subject to free and reduced-price meal program eligibility and other restrictions specified in law. (Education Code §§ 38082 and 38084).
- Paying the replacement cost for District books or supplies loaned to a student that the student fails to return or that is willfully cut, defaced, or otherwise injured, up to an amount not to exceed $10,000. (Education Code §§ 19910-19911 and 48904).
- Fees for field trips and excursions in connection with courses of instruction or school-related social, educational, cultural, athletic, or school band activities, as long as no student is prevented from making the field trip or excursion because of lack of sufficient funds. (Education Code § 35330(b)).
- Medical or hospital insurance for field trips that is made available by the school district. (Education Code § 35331).
- Charges for required medical and accident insurance for athletic team members, so long as there is a waiver for financial hardship. (Education Code § 32221).
- Charges for standardized physical education attire of a particular color and design, but the school may not mandate that the attire be purchased from the school, and no physical education grade of a student may be impacted based on the failure to wear standardized apparel “arising from circumstances beyond the control” of the student. (Education Code § 49066).
- Charging for the parking of vehicles on school grounds. (Vehicle Code § 21113).
- Fees for school camp programs, so long as no student is denied the opportunity to participate because of nonpayment of the fee. (Education Code § 35335).
- Reimbursement for the direct cost of materials provided to a student for property the student has fabricated from such materials for his/her own possession and use, such as wood shop, art, or sewing projects kept by the student. (Education Code § 17551).
- Reimbursement for the actual cost of duplicating public records, student records, or a prospectus of the school curriculum. (Government Code § 6253; Education Code § 49091.14).
- Fees for transportation to and from school, and transportation between school and regional occupational centers, programs, or classes, as long as the fee does not exceed the statewide average nonsubsidized cost per student and provided there is a waiver provision based on financial need. (Education Code § 39807.5).
- Fees for transportation of pupils to places of summer employment. (Education Code § 39837).
- Tuition fees charged to pupils whose parents are actual and legal residents of an adjacent foreign country or an adjacent state. (Education Code §§ 48050-52).
- Tuition fees collected from foreign students attending a District school pursuant to an F-1 visa are equal to the full unsubsidized per capita cost of providing education during the period of attendance. (8 USC § 1184(m)(1)).
- Fees for an optional fingerprinting program for kindergarten or other newly enrolled students if the fee does not exceed the actual costs associated with the program. (Education Code § 32390).
- Fees for community classes in civic, vocational, literacy, health, homemaking, and technical and general education not to exceed the cost of maintaining the community classes. (Education Code §§ 51810 and 51815).
- Deposits for band instruments, music, uniforms, and other regalia, which school band members take on excursions to foreign countries. (Education Code § 38120).
- Charges for eye safety devices, at a price not to exceed the district's actual costs, in specified courses or activities in which students are engaged in, or are observing, an activity or the use of hazardous substances likely to cause injury to the eyes. (Education Code § 32033).
- Fees for Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Diploma examinations for college credit, so long as (1) taking the exam is not a course requirement and (2) the exam results have no impact on a pupil’s grade or credit in a course. An LEA may fund all or part of the cost of the AP test fee for an economically disadvantaged pupil or the IB test fee for a pupil in need of financial assistance. (Ed. Code, §§ 52242; 52922.)
Should any student or parent/guardian believe, they were impermissibly charged a fee or required to provide materials or supplies that they would not have otherwise voluntarily paid for or provided, an application for reimbursement may be filed with the District by contacting Ragini Aggarwal, Communications Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (818) 735-3206. A student or parent /guardian can file a complaint relating to pupil fees with the principal of a school pursuant to the Oak Park Unified School District's Uniform Complaint Procedures and can appeal the Oak Park Unified School District's decision to the CDE.
- For more information, please visit the California Department of Education website.
- If you would like to file a complaint about being charged an illegal fee, you may download this form: AB 1575 Complaint Form.
- Frequently Asked Questions - Fees and Donations