Student Well-Being

Calif. Governor Vetoes Bill Banning Pay-to-Play Sports Fees

By Bryan Toporek — October 10, 2011 1 min read
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California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill this past Saturday that would have banned public schools from charging students fees to participate in sports or other extracurricular activities, saying the bill went “too far.”

[UPDATE (Oct. 11): Despite Gov. Brown’s veto of this bill, pay-to-play sports fees are still banned by the state constitution. This bill would have given more teeth to the enforcement of the pay-to-play ban, as a whistleblower website discovered districts charging students mandatory fees even after the state announced its settlement with the ACLU last December.]

The bill would have prohibited public schools from charging fees as a condition for participation in an “educational activity,” including sports teams or other extracurricular clubs. Schools also wouldn’t have been allowed to charge for books, lab equipment, and art supplies.

[UPDATE (Oct. 11): For schools that still charged students mandatory fees, AB 165 would have entitled the state superintendent of public instruction to withhold 1 percent of all funding for administrative costs from them.]

The bill was based on a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which argued that pay-to-play sports violated the state constitution. (That case was settled last December, but the settlement was never finalized.)

In 1984, the state Supreme Court ruled that “educational opportunities must be provided to all students without regard to their families’ ability or willingness to pay fees or request special waivers” in the case

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.