CARLSBAD, Calif. - Kristy Beers doesn't pay for her son to attend special needs classes at Carlsbad High School during the summer and said if she had to pay he couldn't go.
"Personally, I can't afford it, so if they (parent's) really need their children to be in summer school and they are being charged, that would be an issue for me," said Beers.
Families like this are Sally Smith's whole problem with the summer school program in Carlsbad.
"Children whose families have the money to pay, have an advantage over the kids who don't," said Smith.
Smith who calls herself an education reform advocate believes it's not just unfair, but against the law.
"The state constitution of California says that schools cannot charge fees for school, that mean extra curricular, co-curricular, summer school," said Smith.
The summer school program is run by the Carlsbad Educational Foundation and the CEO, Valin Brown, told Team 10 the non-profit foundation isn't breaking the rules.
Brown said the courses are not remedial or for grade improvement so if someone fails a class they can't retake it at the program and these courses, like Algebra or physics, are only for first time advancement.
Brown also said they offer scholarships to students who can't afford the courses and it's a regional program so students outside of the Carlsbad Unified School District can attend.
"School districts can't charge fees and they can't shift it to third parties, PTO's and foundations. When school district affiliations charge fees, it is the same as the district charging those fees," Smith said.
Smith filed a complaint with the school district and just received a letter from the California State Department of Education.
"California Department of Education sent me a response stating Carlsbad needs to investigate again it's practice of the summer school being run by the foundation," said Smith.
Smith wants refunds for all parents who paid for courses since she filed her complaint.
Team 10 called Carlsbad Unified School District Superintendent Suzette Lovely for a comment but she didn't return our call.
Click to Like the ABC10 Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ABC10News) or follow 10News on Twitter (@10News).
Also download our 10News mobile and tablet apps to stay up-to-date with developing stories when you are on the go: http://www.10news.com/about/mobile.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.