In 2012, the Governor of California signed into law Assembly Bill 1575 (“AB 1575”), which amended certain provisions of the Education Code and Government Code. One of those amendments requires schools to publish an annual notice to pupils, parents and guardians, employees and other interested parties regarding the requirements of AB 1575 (see Cal.Ed.Code section 49013(e)).
In compliance with Cal.Ed.Code section 49013(e), on an annual basis Sycamore Academy Charter School provides this notice to all required parties.
Sycamore Academy Charter School does not ask parents to pay fees such as:
• 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;
• 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;
• A purchase that a pupil is required to make to obtain materials, supplies, equipment, or uniforms associated with an educational activity.
Nor does Sycamore Academy Charter School ask parents for fees in relation to participation in an educational activity, as follows:
• All supplies, materials, and equipment needed to participate in educational activities shall be provided to pupils free of charge;
• A fee waiver policy shall not make a pupil fee permissible;
• Sycamore Academy Charter School 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; and
• Sycamore Academy Charter 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
Sycamore Academy Charter School may require parents and guardians to pay fees specifically authorized by statute such as:
• Fees related to field trips under Education Code section 35330,
• Fees for the direct costs of projects that students fabricate and take home as their own
property in certain classes under Education Code section 17551,
• Fees for transporting students to and from school under Education Code section
• Fees for lost or damaged school property under Education Code section 48904
Sycamore Academy Charter School will continue its ongoing revenue raising efforts through established fundraising entities/procedures to assist with school activities and opportunities available to students and their families. Sycamore Academy Charter School receives voluntary donations and pupils and parents may voluntarily participate in fundraising activities. Sycamore Academy Charter School also may occasionally offer prizes to pupils for recognition of their fundraising efforts.
UNIFORM COMPLAINT PROCESS
AB 1575 allows parents and guardians and others to submit a complaint to Sycamore Academy Charter School that an illegal fee is being charged by Sycamore Academy Charter School. Complaints must be filed not later than one year from the date the alleged violation occurred. Complaints may be submitted anonymously. If Sycamore Academy Charter School finds the complaint has merit, or if the California Department of Education makes such a finding on appeal, Sycamore Academy Charter School shall provide a remedy to all affected pupils, parents, and guardians that, where applicable, includes reasonable efforts by the school to ensure full reimbursement to all affected pupils, parents, and guardians, subject to procedures established through regulations adopted by the state board.
Those believing they have been charged an illegal fee or have been required to purchase materials that should have been provided by Sycamore Academy Charter School may file a complaint with the Executive Director of Sycamore Academy Charter School. Complaint forms with instructions for submitting a complaint are available at the Administrative Offices of Sycamore Academy Charter School upon request during normal business hours. Anyone submitting such a complaint must use the school-prepared form, as it is required by law.
Complaints may be filed anonymously, but the school will not be able to contact the complainant to ask follow-up questions or to request additional information, so complainants must be certain complaints contain all of the information necessary to prove that the school charged an illegal fee.
Within 60 days from the date the Executive Director receives the complaint, Sycamore Academy Charter School will investigate and send the complainant a written response. The response will include the facts (based on evidence gathered during the investigation), the legal conclusion reached by Sycamore Academy Charter School, the reasoning for the decision, corrective actions taken, if any, and information about how to appeal. Please note that complainant will not receive a written report if complainant filed the complaint anonymously.
Within 15 days of receiving the decision, the complainant may send a written appeal to the California Department of Education (CDE). CDE decisions regarding appeals are required to be issued within 60 days of the Department receiving the appeal.