In this post I opened a discussion about illegal fees charged at my school--and not one person commented. Apparently it's not a big deal that a school, an arm of the government, openly defies the law and gets away with it. I'm shocked, dismayed, and discouraged.
Some claim that if we no longer charge the illegal fees, programs (band, art, shop, etc) will go away. Sure, that result justifies breaking the law!
Such thinking is very small-minded. There are several ways to raise money for such valuable programs. Here are a few:
1. Have the parents, through their elected school board, insist that the district fund the programs at a reasonable level. Yes, something will get cut, because there's a finite amount of money in the district. But if band is the least important thing the district is doing (and I don't believe it is), and there's not enough money to fund it, cut it.
2. Have fundraisers.
3. Have Art Boosters, Shop Boosters, and Band Boosters, in addition to Athletic Boosters.
4. Have the PTSA at each school kick in money to fund the program.
5. Solicit direct donations from parents rather than requiring them to pay, especially in classes that are required for graduation. In our district, a computer class and a year of visual or performing arts is required, and many of those classes charge fees.
6. Solicit corporate sponsorships. The FujiFilm Photo Lab, the Michael's (arts and crafts store) Art Gallery.
The problem with #2-6 is that they don't address the underlying problem--the school district isn't adequately funding the programs that are valuable to our students. They merely replace an illegal source of funding with a legal one. That's no small result, but the problem remains.
I also like the idea suggested in the first comment on this post. It has the advantage of requiring additional work only to set the program up.