The Palo Alto Board of Education is set to adopt Tuesday policies on gym uniforms and summer school classes that violate a state law guaranteeing students equal access to education (see Web Link). The 2012 law, AB 1275, provides that a pupil enrolled in a public school shall not be required to pay a pupil fee for participation in an educational activity. Specifically cited in the California Department of Education regulations implementing the law are gym uniforms and summer school classes (see Web Link).
PAUSD's cost for summer school classes top out at $475 for elementary school classes, $470 for middle school classes, and $800 for high school classes (see the catalogs linked from Web Link). The Department of Education's regulations, sent to all districts including PAUSD, states that "tuition or any such fee or charge relating to summer school is prohibited." Only classes that are intended primarily for adults may have fees attached.
The Board of Education discussed the issue of gym uniforms at its May 7 meeting, and concluded that students may be required to provide or purchase uniforms so long as non-logo clothing is allowed. However, the Department of Education and the state Attorney General have determined that under the law, "Gym suits for physical education classes" must be provided for free to students if they are required to wear them. There is no "logo-free exemption" in the regulations.
Earlier this year, the San Jose Mercury-News reported that "News of the fee ban hasn't reached all schools. This school year the Palo Alto High math department continued to insist Texas Instruments-89 graphing calculators were mandatory for an honors math analysis class; likewise nearby Jordan Middle School put out a list of nearly two dozen items required for sixth-graders." See Web Link.