Eric Seufert 0

Eliminate Douglas County Schools mandatory fees

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Calling on Douglas County School Board to reject all mandatory fees Douglas county school district allows for the mandatory collection of textbook fees ranging from $10 to $20 depending on level of education and a technology fee of $25 for grades 1 through 12. From Douglas County School(DCS) Board File JQ-R “ Failure to pay the text book fee may result in the withholding of diploma, transcript, grades or library resources at the completion of any school year. Failure to pay technology fees may result in denial or participation in parent portal, withholding of school privileges, or other actions as identified above.” DCS sites Colorado Revised Statute (CRS) 22-32-110 as reference for the fees which states “It was not the intent of the framers of the state constitution that school districts furnish books free to all students. Marshall v. School District. Re-3, 191 Colo. 451, 553 P.2d 784 (1976).” Article 9 Section 2 of the Colorado Constitution states “The general assembly shall, as soon as practicable, provide for the establishment and maintenance of a thorough and uniform system of free public schools throughout the state, wherein all residents of the state, between the ages of six and twenty one years, may be educated gratuitously.” We believe that DCS should abolish all mandatory fees for the following reasons. • The use of the word mandatory implies that a citizen must give the local government money in exchange for an education which is counter to the constitution requirements of a free public school. • The threat of a punishment of withholding a diploma or transcript without a payment of a fee to the government denies a child the completion of education guaranteed by the constitution to be free. • The technology fee as a mandatory fee is not based on state statute, constitution or court rulings. • Technology fees are described to assist with technology costs. While this is vague it can be assumed, based on the penalty of lack of access to portals, it is assumed to pay for that service. The idea of an additional fee to add technology is counter-intuitive. The technology is a tool and a cost benefit analysis should have been done to demonstrate it would save the district money in other costs. Therefore a fee is really another tax. • If the technology fees are to pay for computers, software and repairs, these are clearly the facilities of the school and as justifiable as charging parents desk rentals. While the case of Marshall vs. School District is debatable, the creation of any mandatory fee in exchange for the basic education requirements creates a fee for service which is clearly in violation of the constitution. If the school wishes to provide books, they should do so free of charge to be compliant. If there is a funding gap for text books, additional revenue should be sought through taxation. We, the undersigned, demand an immediate repeal of mandatory fees for mandatory education requirements.

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