Public School Fees in San Diego

Patricia Hawke

In California, we have a right to a free public education. How have so many schools gotten away with charging their students for things that should be free? Some public schools in San Diego have been charging students for textbooks, required courses, Advanced placement tests, gym clothes and forcing them to buy them from the school, not allowing students to buy gym clothes from an outside source. Schools prices for sports have also gone up considerably. How are these pricing increases making it easier for a family to educate their children?
By giving children a good education, in turn they go to college, get good jobs and stimulate our economy.  Struggling families wanting a better life for their children benefit greatly from this “free public education.” Now families will have to struggle even more to keep up with the increasing demands for money for required materials that should be free in the first place.
Charging for textbooks? This is supposed to be just a college requirement. Now elementary, middle and high schools across the nation are charging for textbooks for classes that are supposed to be free. What if a family couldn’t afford a textbook? This is why over thirty-five schools in California are being sued for not providing a “free” education as out law states we have the right to.
When students choose to take an advanced placement class in high school to better their education and give them better opportunities to get into certain colleges, it should not cost them. Throughout many schools in the nation they are charging students to take the advanced placement tests. This test is part of their final grade at the end of the semester/year and the school charges for it? This is unreasonable, how is charging for a required test going to help our students and their education?
Some schools are now requiring gym clothes to be bought directly from the school and are not allowing students to purchase any Physical Education attire from outside vendors. The schools gym clothes are priced much higher than if you were to go to a discount store. This is very inconvenient and again comes back to the fact that the schools are not supposed to be forcing materials to be bought from the school.  This is leaving parents with no options and creating a bad relationship between the school and the parents.
Sports have always been a great way to get a student involved and help them socialize and learn to work as a team. Now because schools are charging so much for sport fees and uniforms, students have to quit the sports they loved because of the rising costs of them. At one San Diego High School the cheerleading program is $1,833, $400 for wrestling and $180 for water polo.
How do these school charges get past our law system? Public education is supposed to be free. If a parent has the means to put their child through private school that is their right, but what about the families struggling to make ends meet? It seems that the schools are willing to let families struggle to make them money. This does not benefit the child and doesn’t get them any better of an education by making them buy gym clothes directly from the school or purchasing textbooks that were meant to be free.
Patricia Hawke is a staff writer for Schools K-12, providing free, in-depth reports on all U.S. public and private K-12 schools. For more information please visit San Diego School Ratings and San Diego School Rankings