Tuesday, August 10, 2010

NEWS RELEASE: “Just Say No” to Illegal School Fees

Louisiana Justice Institute Advises Orleans Parish Public Schools parents and guardians “Just Say No” to Illegal School Fees and Reports Charter School Operator to U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights
For the third consecutive year Louisiana Justice Institute (LJI) advises parents to beware of illegal school fees charged by public school operators. Since July, LJI has received numerous reports from parents, distressed by the school fees being charged for their children to participate in required school activities. These charges are prohibited by the Louisiana Constitution and by state statute.

“Students are being assessed ‘instructional fees’ that are not related to any particular activity or service and amounts to an ‘attendance fee’ prohibited by law. Secondly, the Louisiana Constitution specifically requires that all school books and materials of instruction be provided free of charge. Thus, any fee for taking AP courses and study guide materials is also prohibited,” states Tracie L. Washington, LJI Co-Director and Attorney.

Further, and equally important, parents have an absolute right to free transportation of their child(ren) to school if the child resides more than 1 mile from the school site. “If you have been denied free transportation, or in any way coerced or discouraged from requiring your school to provide this transportation, then the school is violating Louisiana law.”

New Orleans is being lauded by the U.S. Department of Education and national school experts, who have proclaimed this model a success. But since Hurricane Katrina, each year children and families are stressed by the ‘Ringing of the Opening Bell’ because they cannot afford the rising cost of public education. “In all, my step-daughter and my step-son are required to pay over $1,150 in fees for school; it’s just too much. Where is the free and appropriate public education?” asks Angela Watson Daliet, co-founder of Save Our Schools NOLA.

If you are a student or parent being charged illegal school fees, contact LJI at 504.872.9134.


Karran Royal said...

Thank you, Thank you, I will send this to parents that I know.

The Perimeter Primate said...

Which specific charter school operator was reported?

I'd like to add this story to my blog @ http://charterschoolscandals.blogspot.com/

jan clements said...

I have experienced this over the years with my 3 kids in public schools. Public schools were created in order to provide a free and equal education for the poor. This in turn was to lead to equality of opportunity. Thanks for the article, I posted it to my fb page.

Jennifer Molina said...

This is long overdue. Parents are scared to not pay the fees (especially in selective admissions schools where they fear that their children may lose their spot at the school). It's become even worse (especially with transportation costs) in the post-hurricane system that has abolished district schools. It is my understanding that Franklin charges for their school bus, and Audubon parents sign a waiver of the right to free transportation. High school students (pre-Katrina) used to get free RTA tokens, but I'm not sure if that still occurs. You can't give RTA tokens to elementary kids as their form of transportation.

Tracie L. Washington said...

I just spoke with administrators at Audubon and transportation is still provided free of charge.