Illinois - Sports participation fees--allowed: Program requirement

Program Requirement
Policy Type: 
regulation; statute

State law requires fees for participation, but provides for waivers or a cap on the amount of money to be collected.

Illinois Administrative Code Title 23 Section 1.245 Waiver of School Fees

a) For the purposes of this Section “school fees” or “fees” means any monetary charge collected by a public school orpublic school district from a student or the parents or guardian of a student as a prerequisite for the student's participation in any curricular or extracurricular program of the school or school district. A school or school district does not impose a “fee” when it requires that a student provide his or her own ordinary supplies or materials (e.g., pencil, paper, notebooks), which are necessary to participate in any curricular or extracurricular program.

1) “School fees” include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A) All charges for required textbooks and instructional materials.
  • B) All charges and deposits collected by a school for use of school property (e.g., locks, towels, laboratory equipment).
  • C) Charges for field trips made during school hours, or made after school hours if the field trip is a required orcustomary part of a class or extracurricular activity (e.g., annually scheduled trips to museums, concerts, placesof business and industry or field trips related to instruction in social studies, the fine arts, career/vocational education or the sciences).
  • D) Charges or deposits for uniforms or equipment related to varsity and intramural sports, or to fine artsprograms.
  • E) Charges for supplies required for a particular class (e.g., shop or home economics materials, laboratory orart supplies).

Illinois Administrative Code Title 23 Section 1.245 Waiver of School Fees

b) School boards that do not charge school fees must adopt a policy so stating. Parents must be notified of this policy as provided in this Section.

c) School boards that charge school fees must adopt a policy and procedures containing at least the following elements:

  • 1) Eligibility Criteria
  • A) Eligibility criteria must include a waiver of fees for all students who qualify for free lunches or breakfasts under the School Breakfast and Lunch Program Act [105 ILCS 125]. Students must meet the income requirements of the program but need not participate in order to receive a waiver of school fees.
  • B) Eligibility criteria must also include a description of other extenuating circumstances under which the district will grant a waiver of school fees. Examples include students who are eligible to receive reduced-price lunch or breakfast; very significant loss of income due to severe illness or injury in the family or unusual expenses such as fire, flood, or storm damage; or similar emergency situations that the district determines to include in its policy

Illinois Administrative Code Title 23 Section 1.245 Waiver of School Fees

2) Notification of parents

  • A) The district's policy for the waiver of school fees shall be communicated in writing to the parents of all students enrolling in the district for the first time. A fee waiver application form also may be included with this notice when it is sent to parents. The notification must be in English or the home language of the parents if it is needed to ensure their understanding of the district's policy (if translation of the notice is not feasible, the use of interpreters is permitted, e.g., other students or neighbors). The notice shall at least describe:

    • i) the district's policy, including the criteria and other circumstances under which the district will waive school fees;
    • ii) the fees subject to waiver under the district's policy;
    • iii) the procedure to be used by parents in applying for a waiver of school fees, including the availability of forms that may be used to request a fee waiver and the documents whose use is required by the school district in verifying income as permitted under subsection (d) of this Section; and
    • iv) the procedure to be used by parents in resolving disputes concerning the waiver of school fees.
  • B) The district's policy also shall provide that the first bill or notice of each school year sent to parents who owe fees shall state:

    • i) the district waives fees for persons unable to afford them in accordance with its policy; and
    • ii) the procedure for applying for a fee waiver, or the name, address and telephone number of the personto contact for information concerning a fee waiver.

Illinois Compiled Statutes 105 ILCS 5/2-3.96 Waiver of school fees.

The State Board of Education shall promulgate regulations governing waiver of school fees authorized in Sections 10-20.13 and 34-21.6 [105 ILCS 5/10-20.13 and 105 ILCS 5/34-21.6]. Board regulations shall require that each school district adopt written policies for the administration of the waiver of school fees. Such policies shall include, but not be limited to: standards for determination of eligibility, procedures for notice to parents and procedures for resolving disputes regarding the administration of the waiver of school fees.

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