State law prohibits fees for participation.
California Education Code 49010 Pupil Fees
(b) “Pupil fee” means a fee, deposit, or other charge imposed on pupils, or a pupil’s parents or guardians, in violation of Section 49011 and Section 5 of Article IX of the California Constitution, which require educational activities to be provided free of charge to all pupils without regard to their families’ ability or willingness to pay fees or request special waivers, as provided for in Hartzell v. Connell (1984) 35 Cal.3d 899. A pupil fee includes, but is not limited to, all of the following:
- (1) A fee charged to a pupil as a condition for registering for school or classes, or as a condition for participation in a class or an extracurricular activity, regardless of whether the class or activity is elective or compulsory, or is for credit.
- (2) A security deposit, or other payment, that a pupil is required to make to obtain a lock, locker, book, class apparatus, musical instrument, uniform, or other materials or equipment.
- (3) A purchase that a pupil is required to make to obtain materials, supplies, equipment, or uniforms associated with an educational activity.
California Education Code 49011 Pupil Fees
(a) A pupil enrolled in a public school shall not be required to pay a pupil fee for participation in an educational activity. (b) All of the following requirements apply to the prohibition identified in subdivision (a):
- (1) All supplies, materials, and equipment needed to participate in educational activities shall be provided to pupils free of charge.
- (2) A fee waiver policy shall not make a pupil fee permissible.
- (3) School districts and schools shall not establish a two-tier educational system by requiring a minimal educational standard and also offering a second, higher educational standard that pupils may only obtain through payment of a fee or purchase of additional supplies that the school district or school does not provide.
- (4) A school district or school shall not offer course credit or privileges related to educational activities in exchange for money or donations of goods or services from a pupil or a pupil’s parents or guardians, and a school district or school shall not remove course credit or privileges related to educational activities, or otherwise discriminate against a pupil, because the pupil or the pupil’s parents or guardians did not or will not provide money or donations of goods or services to the school district or school.