Assembly Bill & School Funding

Dear Parents,

In light of Assembly Bill 165, which has been passed by both houses of the legislature but rejected by the governor Oct. 9, school districts must be proactive in getting out the message to their communities. The components of AB 165 are not intended to change the rules districts must follow in collecting fees from students. Rather, the bill is designed to reflect existing parameters of the constitutional “free school guarantee.”

Based on the “free school guarantee,” no student shall be denied participation in an educational activity (curricular or co-curricular) based on his/her inability to pay a fee. Pleasanton Unified School District students are fortunate to have incredible community support and donations allowing them many wonderful opportunities. The Pleasanton school district and many other districts are clarifying procedures in order to help schools and parent organizations follow important guidelines and requirements while continuing to allow students to participate in activities that have a cost associated with them.

AB 165 would have levied steep fines against school districts found to be non-compliant with the “free school guarantee.” While the sanction portion of the bill will not take effect, school districts must still follow the guidelines of offering free programs to all students.

We expect our students to continue being provided wonderful opportunities through legally allowable means. Collecting donations and conducting fundraisers are two ways in which schools compensate for shortages of funds to pay for these activities. We have been provided clear procedures by our legal counsel when planning trips and events. We expect that our students will continue to participate in field trips such as the Disneyland band and chorus trips and other events by following those guidelines, while ensuring all students are able to participate.

Out-of-state trips affiliated with private companies and not a part of the school program fall in a different category. In these cases, school resources and instructional time may not be used for advertisement or outreach. The outreach to students must follow the same guidelines as all non-school-related agencies. Fliers may be posted on school websites under the same guidelines any other outside agency follows. Out-of-state trip organizers may also file a facility use permit and give relevant information to parents and students outside of school hours.

We appreciate your support in helping us stay compliant and for helping us provide your children the most outstanding opportunities beyond our classrooms through donations and fundraising activities. Please let me know if you have further questions.

All my best,

Terry Conde
Principal
Thomas S. Hart Middle School