Board trying to regulate school-fees

By Yvette Yeon - bio | email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - How would you like it if you never again had to pay for "extras" at your child's school?

The Virginia Board of Education wants to do away with fees for things like gym uniforms and lab equipment. The board opened the idea for public review in Chesterfield Thursday night.

Every school system in Virginia has its own policy for charging classroom fees and some may be steeper than others. In order to help that...the board wants to at least cut out all charges for classes that students are required to take.

Who wouldn't want the school to pay for science class lab fees, P. E. uniforms, or textbooks. Especially in this turning economy, parents could use the help.

"Some years if they're in science they have to pay for goggles, they have to pay for gym shorts or gym outfits of course they have to pay for band fees, classroom fees," said Chesterfield parent and teacher, Steven Barton.

Barton, parent and band director at Thomas Dale High School, says he pays about $40 a year, per child and that doesn't included all the extra-curricular activities.

But as a teacher himself, Barton believes taking away all fees could hurt some of the funding for the fine arts like music.

"I am concerned, that the practical consequences of the proposal will present an undue burden on our ability to support the successful programs that our community and children have enjoyed thru many years," he said during the public hearing.

The proposal clearly prohibits any classroom fees for mandatory classes. It doesn't however cover parking and locker rentals, certain field trips, and extra-curricular activities. So what about those who can't afford all the extras?

"Every school division will have to have a plan that allows a waiver of the fee if a youngster and his family cannot afford to pay the fee," said Virginia Board of Education member, Dave Johnson.

If you'd like to weigh in on the new regulation, you have until July 26th to comment or make suggestions.

You can mail, fax or email.

Office of Policy, Department of Education P.O. Box 2120, Richmond, VA 23218

Fax: 804-225-2524

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