Sweetwater Union High School District has determined the purchase of the 2017-2018 Olympian HS Cheerleading Spirit Packs to be an unlawful pupil fee.
California Education Code 49010 states that educational activities and materials needed for those activities are “to be provided free of charge.” There is no provision in the Education Code for “personal space” or hygienic items. A SUHSD memorandum issued to site administrators on June 13, 2017 and again on August 6, 2018, states schools are prohibited from “requiring prospective or actual student athletes to buy booster [spirit] packs or fund raise.”
Accordingly, Olympian HS administration and the District will review all receipts and other documentation associated with the sale of the 2017-2018 Olympian HS Cheerleading Spirit Packs. All families that have been found to have purchased a Spirit Pack during that specific interval shall be offered a refund. The refunds will be coordinated by Olympian HS administration and overseen by the District’s Finance Department, as well as the Compliance Office.
With regards to the 2018-2019 OLH Cheerleading Spirit Pack order forms, the Compliance Office and the Legal Services Department has reviewed the forms and revisions have been made. (See New Form)
We applaud the SUHSD Administration for this small step in the right direction. However, a spirit pack in many sports actually makes up the uniform. School ASBs (guided by misinformed and misguided adults), parent boosters and Foundations are “fundraising” on the backs of the very students the State of California has insured a FEE FREE Education.
Cheer, a current CIF Sport, requires equipment for the safety and well being of every athlete. It is our understanding at NO MORE PUPIL FEES that bloomers are a requirement not only for uniformity but also for well-being of the cheer leader. Transparency is important for all aspects of Public School Education. So let's be transparent about costs for the respective items in the complaint. In 2017-2018 the cost of items in the spirit pack all cheerleaders wore as their uniform: $94.60. YET a fundraising flyer required a donation of $225 for Varsity and $190 for JV for the same items.
Further, the investigation found that proper processes were not utilized and Site Administration were not accountable to previous training they received or ensuring students were protected and not taken advantage of:
It is time to start holding our school administration accountable for running all school programs. As we have stated before over 50% of our high school students participate in School Sponsored Activities.
However, with the allowance by school districts of the unsupervised walk-on coach we have turned our public school activities into profit making ventures for adults not truly vested in the education our of public school students. Yes, California has very minimum requirements to be a high school coach, so minimum you take it one time online. This may be all right if the person is already a certificated teacher, but the majority of these coaches are not teachers, they are not vested in the "system" and they are clearly not trained to budget and understand the fundamentals of running a public school sponsored sports program. We are not saying all walk-on Coaches are bad, we are saying that a system that lacks balance and competent oversight by school administration will inevitably have a breakdown in integrity. This is where the administration needs to be held accountable. The days, of "I did not know" will no longer suffice.
With 21% of California Students as English Language Learners and 59% meeting Free and Reduced Price Meal Programs, how are you ensuring connectivity to the High School experience?
High School Administrators - what are you doing to ensure your students have a positive athletic experience? What are you doing to encourage your students to "get in the game"?
Thank you parents for advocating for your Students. If we do not hold our Public School Administration accountable for providing the services the State of California guarantees us as residence, as taxpayers, clearly no on else will.
Sweetwater UHSD Public Records