Uploaded: Tue, May 6, 2014, 9:52 am
Counseling, scaled-back summer school on board agenda
After restrictions on charging fees, district reduces summer offerings
Updates on this year's summer school as well as on counseling programs in Palo Alto's middle schools and high schools will be discussed by the Board of Education tonight, Tuesday May 6.
Summer school enrollment will be reduced at the elementary and middle school levels and the program will be aimed particularly at students "whose families may have fewer options for summer learning" or those "needing literacy or math intervention," according to school district staff reports.
The changes follow new state law, which prohibits school districts from charging fees for summer school. Last year, the district had to offer refunds to Palo Alto families who had paid summer school fees as high as $475.
School officials said they would scale back future summer "enrichment" offerings as a result of the restrictions on charging fees, but Palo Alto recreation officials said they would pick up the slack by expanding their fee-based enrichment choices for the summer of 2014.
At the high school level, summer school enrollment will be about the same as last year 700 in Session 1 and 500 in Session 2 and the program will focus on making up lost credits, the "living skills" class required for high school graduation, economics, a "freshman bridge" class to acquaint students with high school and a non-credit Spanish class to help students with a new language requirement.
Elementary summer school will be at Barron Park and Escondido elementary schools; middle school summer school will be at Terman Middle School and high school summer school will be at Gunn.
Following years of discord over differences between the counseling models used at Gunn and Palo Alto high schools, district officials tonight will present a report describing "greater commonality in activities" even though programs at the two schools still have different names, delivery systems and frequency of meetings.
Tonight's board meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the boardroom of school district headquarters, 25 Churchill Ave.
Posted by Paly mom
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 11, 2014 at 9:22 am
PAUSD's law firm Lozano Smith provided a client news brief in October 2012 detailing updates to the Ed Code due to AB 1575. According to the brief pupil fees may not be charged for any school activity including extracurricular and this limitation on fees does not apply to requests for voluntary donations. See Web Link
"Effective January 1, 2013, AB 1575 will add Education Code sections 49010, 49011, 49012 and 49013, as well as amend Government Code section 905. Section 49010 establishes a statutory framework governing the scope and nature of the free school guarantee in California's K-12 public schools, principles largely derived from the California Supreme Court's decision in Hartzell v. Connell (1984) 35 Cal.3d 899. Section 49010 defines "educational activity," for which no pupil fees may be charged. This section also defines a "pupil fee" as any fee, deposit or other charge that a pupil or a pupil's parent or guardian are required to pay in violation of new Education Code section 49011 and article IX, section 5 of the California Constitution. Those laws require K-12 public schools to offer educational activities to students and their families free of charge, and under such laws a "fee waiver" or "scholarship" program cannot cure unlawful pupil fees. Within this broader definition, section 49010, subdivision (b)(1)-(3), specifies that a "pupil fee" includes:
• A fee charged to a pupil as a condition for registering for school or classes, or as a condition for participation in a class or an extracurricular activity, regardless of whether the class or activity is elective or compulsory, or is for credit;
• A security deposit, or other payment, that a pupil is required to make to obtain a lock, locker, book, class apparatus, musical instrument, uniform, or other materials or equipment; and
• A purchase that a pupil is required to make to obtain materials, supplies, equipment, or uniforms associated with an educational activity.
New Education Code section 49011, subdivision (a), sets forth the express prohibition on pupil fees imposed in relation to participation in an educational activity. Section 49011, subdivision (b)(1)-(4), specifies that under this prohibition, all of the following parameters apply:
• All supplies, materials, and equipment needed to participate in educational activities shall be provided to pupils free of charge;
• A fee waiver policy shall not make a pupil fee permissible;
• School districts and schools shall not establish a two-tier educational system by requiring a minimal educational standard and also offering a second, higher educational standard that pupils may only obtain through payment of a fee or purchase of additional supplies that the school district or school does not provide; and
• A school district or school shall not offer course credit or privileges related to educational activities in exchange for money or donations of goods or services from a pupil or a pupil's parents or guardians, and a school district or school shall not remove course credit or privileges related to educational activities, or otherwise discriminate against a pupil, because the pupil or the pupil's parents or guardians did not or will not provide money or donations of goods or services to the school district or school.
Significantly, section 49011, subdivision (c), reaffirms existing law under which schools' solicitation of voluntary donations and voluntarily participation in fundraising activities by pupils or their parents or guardians is not prohibited. This provision also specified that offering prizes to pupils for recognition of their fundraising efforts is not unlawful."