By, Luke Quevedo
About the new law
Earlier this year a bill was passed in California called Assembly Bill No. AB 1575. The bill prevents public schools from requiring students to pay a fee, deposit, or other charge not specifically authorized by law, for something that is required as part of their education.
According to the Legislative Counsel’s Digest, “This bill would prohibit a pupil enrolled in a public school from being required to pay a fee…for participation in an educational activity”
The law also states that a “lock, locker, book, class apparatus, musical instrument, uniform, and all supplies, materials, and equipment associated with an educational activity shall be provided to pupils free of charge.”
This means students can no longer be charged for printer paper in the library, and teachers can no longer push a fee on students for chewing gum, eating food, or swearing.
Students are also no longer required to have to pay for certain supplies that are required for class, like a calculator for a math and science classes.
However, the bill states, “The bill would provide that this prohibition is not to be interpreted to prohibit solicitation of voluntary donations, voluntary participation in fundraising activities, or schools from providing pupils prizes or other recognition for voluntarily participating in fundraising activities.”
This means students, and legal guardians of students, can still give voluntary donations, and schools can still hold fundraisers to make money.
How Interim will be affected
With this new law in place, students will no longer be required to pay a fee for any interim, because interim is classified as an educational activity that students receive credit for.
Since its harder to raise money for expensive interims, like DC, Europe, Los Angeles, and Exploring Japan, these interims will be discontinued.
Only inexpensive interims will be available, which might disappoint students who were looking forward to a specific interim.
The exception to this is Sojourn to the Past. This interim is allowed to continue because Sojourn is run by an outside organization who has agreed to cover the cost for any students who can not fundraise enough money.
According to a source from Westmoor, the school is still carrying through with Sojourn, and is still requiring students to pay a fee to attend Sojourn.
What Westmoor is doing is a violation of law AB 1575, and if someone files an appeal to the Superintendent of Jefferson Union High School District, the Superintendent has 30 working days after the appeal to file a report to the state board. If the report finds a violation, the bill would require the Superintendent to require the offending school to fully reimburse all affected pupils, parents, or guardians.
Even though law AB 1575 was created to protect financially troubled students and families, some may think it is only hurting students opportunity to explore and experience new places through the interim program.
For a list of this year’s interim offerings, click here.