Dear CUSD Staff:
The Capistrano Unified School District continuously strives to offer students a comprehensive array of programs within the District. We know these programs are important to our students and the community. At the same time, the California Constitution requires that public education be provided to students free of charge, unless a charge is specifically authorized by law for a particular program or activity. Recently, a lawsuit against the State of California brought to light many practices that violated this right, and mandated the need for districts to monitor all activity related to student fees.
In general, the law is very clear: our District may not charge fees for school programs and extracurricular activities, except those for which a fee is specifically authorized by law. This means that our District, like all districts in California, must ensure that our parents, staff, and community are clear on the guidelines for student fees and donations, and that they are followed with absolute consistency. Please note that the law does not prohibit a school district or its programs from requesting voluntary donations or engaging in fundraising activities and programs. These donations and fundraising financial contributions are voluntary, and all students will be allowed to participate in school activities and extracurricular activities regardless of whether the parent or legal guardian makes a donation or contribution. However, it's the manner in which we make those requests that is crucial.
Beginning March 2011, our District convened a task force comprised of teachers, parents, administrators, and community members to examine the law, and develop clear guidelines related to student fees. The information contained within this website was compiled by this task force, and is designed to provide specific guidelines and resources to help ensure that the guidelines are applied consistently. To view this information or find answers to your questions, simply click on the links contained within this website.