It was good to see at the August 17th School Board Meeting a number of field trips brought forward for Approval, but the costs of the programs were not readily available. Trustee Salazar asked that the agenda reflect the total cost for all students to be able to participate in the field trip in future Agenda items so that the board had an awareness of the costs incurred and the total costs for which "donations" were being sought .
He also emphasized that the District make it much clearer to parents that there is no obligation to pay for school sponsored activities. The CA Dept. of Ed and Constitution make it clear that if the school sponsors an activity, even if extracurricular, that the school has the obligation to make sure ALL students can participate in the field trip regardless of whether a donation is given.
Unfortunately, such clarity came too late for many football families who already felt the need to comply with the donation request. We at the Watchdog received a number of calls and emails from families that were concerned about the pressures being placed on families to pay for the expensive trip, many of whom could not really afford the trip, but did not want their athlete to be penalized, criticized or embarrassed for not being able to attend for lack of payment.
No family should be put in this uncomfortable position. Attached is a copy of a Public Records Request Response containing a letter from Principal Coppo indicating that no player would be excluded for lack of funds.
If any parent feels they were misled, stay tuned as we understand that a Uniform Complaint was filed with the District to determine if those parents who felt pressured into payment have an option to get their funds back. Remember parents, ALL DONATION requests are voluntary. The failure to pay a donation cannot prevent your student from participating in any school activity.