Teacher Wants Donation or Fee?


Parent apologizes to teacher for not making the $75 dollar suggested donation to the class.     

$200 "donafee" gets you recess ---- $800 gets you 3

San Diego USD

PTA holds fundraiser and gives recess to those who donate.  -- CDE says this is not allowed.

Fees for your Own Dead Cat -- Creates 2-Tier Educational Programcond Item

Long Beach USD

Millikan High School's Science Department was charging $75 for lab materials in an Anatomy and Physiology course, which created a two-tier educational program segregating those students who paid from those who did not.

School District Corrections

  1. Millikan High School teachers retracted the email that was given to students and parents and created a new letter explaining students could not purchase the lab specimens.

  2. A refund was provided to each of the two students who paid prior to receiving the retraction letter.

  3. Administrators at the school will work with teacher leaders, such as department chairs, to craft a simple statement that emphasizes the right for all students to access a free, public education without fees, whether "voluntary" or not. This statement will be included in class communication with parents, such as a syllabus and/or on a school-wide communication.

Come On Man! This is Ridiculous

San Diego USD

La Jolla High School teacher decided not to follow the rules and solicit funds from students...when caught the burden still rested on the parents who paid the money.    

Player Privileges and Fundraising -- Law Says NO!

Sweetwater UHSD

CDE told Bonita Vista HS, "By January 31, 2015, the District shall provide evidence that its written communications to coaches, parents, and athletes clarify that privileges related to educational activities may not be given or removed in exchange for donation of services.


By January 31, 2015, the District shall provide evidence of notification to all District staff who act or may act as UCP compliance officers that UCP Decisions must include  a notice of the complainants right to appeal the Districts Decision within 15 days to the CDE and procedures to be followed for initiation of such an appeal (5 CCR Sections 4631(e)(6-7)).

No Test Fees for Grades

In 2012 - San Diego Unified Administration thought it was okay to charge students fees for tests.  Read Letter

In 2015 - CDE Sets them Straight

CDE clarifies:  "Students can enroll in, attend and fully participate in a course with an underlying lB component without paying any fee of any kind and without registering for, paying for or taking any end-of-course lB exams. The fee-based lB end-of-course exams are not a course requirement and the exam results do not impact a student's grade or course credit towards a high school diploma."

School Did Not Let Us Go to SeaWorld with the Class

San Diego USD

District found it had violated the pupil fee laws at Muirlands MS, the only issue on appeal is whether discontinuing the Sea World field trip is a sufficient remedy or whether additional remedies are required. ln this case, applying the facts to the law, the school offered a field trip to SeaWorld during the school day for which, as a practical matter, the "fee" was $100 of fundraising. The students who fundraised the $100 could attend the field trip while those who did not fundraise the $100 could not.

EC 33350 indicates that a field trip fee can be charged so long as no pupil is prevented from making the field trip because of lack of sufficient funds.

For this reason, the $100 fundraising requirement for the field trip violated the pupil fee laws and students who met their $100 fundraising requirement in whole or in part through financial contributions from their own families are entitled to reimbursement to the extent of their own family's contribution.

Donation Not Enough to Eat

Wilder's Preparatory Academy Charter School

Teacher Mrs. Jimenez told me several times that my child needed to purchase an agenda from the school and the one I purchased from the store was not good enough.


Teachers Ms. Jimenez and Ms. Wright had a list at the door and were only letting in those who registered and paid the $10. I was told by Ms. Wright that I didn't pay and my fundraising for the event wasn't enough. We were told we could only eat after everyone who paid the correct amount ate.

"cannot include a requirement that an affected party demonstrate that he believed the fee was mandatory"

Chino Hills USD

Levi Dickey Elementary

"Reasonable efforts" means a public school's good faith attempts to identify and fully reimburse all pupils, parents and guardians who paid a pupil fee within one year prior to the filing of the complaint. Reasonable efforts at reimbursement cannot include a requirement that an affected party demonstrate that he believed the fee was mandatory rather than voluntary.


Chino High School

Although the District found substantive and procedural merit in the complaint, reimbursement is only needed per EC 49013(d) "where applicable." The District found that music teachers improperly offered, contrary top EC49011(b)(4), extra credit to students whose parents attend music booster meetings. As to certain class syllabi, the District concluded that they contained procedurally improper language that appeared inconsistent with pupil fees laws, but that the evidence of actual practice showed that no student was required to purchase supplies and that teachers provided all needed supplies.


Canyon Hills Junior High School

The District revised class syllabi that contained proceduraily improper language that appeared inconsistent with pupil fees laws, but that the evidence of actual practice showed that no student was required to purchase supplies and that teachers provided all needed supplies. With regard to the $10 uniform cleaning pupil fees and the $5 replacement ID cards, the District took the step of identifying students who paid those pupil fees to refund the money. 

Wearing a Cap and Gown is a Right of Passage - Do not ruin their day by making students pay



DATE:           October 4, 2013

TO:               County and District Superintendents Charter School Administrators

FROM:          Jeannie Oropeza, Deputy Superintendent
                      Services for Administration, Finance, Technology, and Infrastructure


SUBJECT:    Pupil Fees, Deposits, and Other Charges: Cap and Gown for High School Graduation Ceremony


Questions have arisen recently as to whether a district can require students to purchase or pay for a cap and gown if wearing a cap and gown is a condition of participation in a graduation ceremony. This memo is intended to augment Fiscal Management Advisory 12-02, dated April 24, 2013, Pupil Fees, Deposits, and Other Charges, Section III, “Fees Not Allowed.” 

In Sands v. Morongo Unified Sch. Dist., 53 Cal. 3d 863, 873-874 (1991), cert. denied, 505 U.S. 1218 (1992), the California Supreme Court found that the high school graduation ceremony is “an integral part of the educational process”  because it recognizes cumulative academic achievement.  Therefore, the graduation ceremony is an “educational activity,” pursuant to EC Section 49010(a), as to which a pupil fee cannot be charged.

In the CDE’s view, EC Section 38119 only authorizes districts to rent caps and gowns from a supplier and provide them free of charge to students. Therefore, a cap and gown fee is not “otherwise allowed by law.” EC Section 49011(e).

For these reasons, a district may not require students to purchase a cap and gown as a condition of participating in the graduation ceremony.  The CDE recommends that a district that requires students to wear a cap and gown at the ceremony inform students that: (1) the district will provide caps and gowns for graduating seniors for use during the ceremony, and (2) students also have the option to purchase an appropriate cap and gown from a vendor.  No student should be required to self-identify as indigent in order to receive a cap and gown from the district.

Last Reviewed: Friday, October 04, 2013

Field Hockey - Equipment is Educational Material

San Diego USD

The field hockey team is determined to be an educational activity offered by the school. Therefore, to the extent the District's findings of fact suggest that students were not required to provide their own equipment to participate in field hockey, the CDE finds the District's findings, of fact are not supported by substantial evidence.


CDE's Determination as to District's conclusions of Law:
The evidence demonstrates that students were expected to purchase or provide their own equipment that was necessary to participate in field hockey. The District's conclusion that students were not required to purchase or provide necessary equipment is not consistent with law.

Cheerleading Fees - Deemed DonaFee by CDE

Simi Valley USD

Simi Valley Letter to Parents was deemed misleading. CDE stated that the refunds were for illegal student fees not a refund for donations.

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Disclaimer: This Blog/Website is made available for educational purposes only as well as to provide general information and understanding of CA Education Code as it pertains to Pupil Fees. The Blog/Website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.