Board Member Questions District Response To School Fees

As a result of a 10News story, the San Diego Unified School District is questioning all of its principals to find out more about fees being charged for school activities or supplies.

Many parents did not know that schools are breaking the law when they ask parents to buy supplies for their children, for both extracurricular and curricular activities, and it ranges from small items like pencils and paper, to more expensive things like cheerleading uniforms.

"Is this happening here in San Diego?" asked 10News' Charisse Yu.

"It is, and it's happening more than people realize," said San Diego School Board member John DeBeck.

Schools can't ask parents to pay for items because a 1984 State Supreme Court ruling made it clear that the state's guarantee of a free education meant just that.

"We just kid ourselves year after year after year by asking the parents for more and more and more," said DeBeck.

After several complaints from parents, 10News learned that the San Diego Unified School District will survey its principals about fees being charged.

"The intent of the survey is to try to find out what's going on. I don't think they're going to get what they want through a survey," said DeBeck.

"As a board member, what are you going to do?" asked Yu.

"Well, I'm going to raise hell. I'm going to keep after this until I found out that someone has looked at it and they can certify that this is not happening in their schools," said DeBeck.

While 10News learned that some schools may be getting around the law by telling parents they will make alternative arrangements if they are unable to pay, legal experts said that is still illegal.

Learn more about California School Fees here.