California settles constitutional suit: no more fees in public schools

In a settlement agreement announced Thursday, California officials intend to enforce a state law that prohibits schools from charging fees for textbooks, cheerleader outfits, and other items.  The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups brought suit against the state in September, saying fees charged to public school students violated the the state constitution. Plaintiffs argued the state guaranteed free and equal public education.

David Sapp, an ACLU attorney, said the state will send letters to every public school district and charter school operator in California explaining the settlement and asking for the removal of any extant fees.  Sapp told the Associated Press that:

     “some students were required to pay $30 science lab fees, materials charges for art, shop and vocational classes, and to buy class necessities such as textbooks, workbooks and novels required for English classes.”

ACLU attorneys further allege that some students felt singled out and humiliated in front of their classmates by teachers who demanded fees.