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re: fee for art class?

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From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Feb 14 2002 - 14:19:08 PST


We have had fees for as long as I can remember. They range from $12-15.00
for art classes, $25.00 for Advanced and AP classes, and $50.00 for the
Photo classes. (That $50. just covers film and paper used)
It's a touchy area and as far as I am concerned probably illegal in a public
school. As department head, I scrutinize the course fee P.O's and make sure
what is being ordered is stuff the kids actually use and theoretically can
take with them.
As far as the kids that truly can not afford the course fee -- well that is
also becoming more of a time consuming chore. I have created a kind of slush
fund for the truly needy and usually base that on the students that are on
the reduced lunch program. Unless a counselor tells me that a student is
truly needy, I don't know.
I have found this year that parents are becoming aware of this, and making
all kinds of reasons for not paying the fee.
Our school board has a written specific outline for what is acceptable as
far as materials purchased with course fee money. It's the only protection I
have.
I have been questioned by the board on the fees. And when I throw it back
to them about the cost of materials I get shrugged shoulders

> We fortunately have
> a community support person in our district, requested
> funds to be used as scholarships for students unable
> to pay the fees. Students had to fill out
> applications and those who received the scholarship
> had to participate in some community service, we
> painted windows for Christmas.

I have difficulty with this. It sounds to me like an extra work load for the
poor. Poor is hard enough.
I can't afford to loose any student for an elective because the course fee
is prohibitive. And I certainly don't want to punish the poor with extra
work.
It just sounds to me so awful to make a kid, that truly doesn't have the
resources to take a class because of the expense and have that kid do
something else to fulfill for what comes too easily to others.
That is certainly not what the intent of public education ever was.

I must say, my program depends on the course fee, but my heart is torn about
the kids that can't pay.
I wonder who I exclude

My heart hurts and aches for the future of public education
seems to me there are far too many words and proposals and initiatives being
thrown around without the resources to provide

no wonder the kids I see think they have no future...
Patty

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