Re: Schools Make Parents Pay For Computers Before Kids Log on

Some parents say the financial expectations and price tag violate

> California's constitutional guarantee of a free public education -- a > principle also in other state constitutions. The parents are > threatening a lawsuit and have enlisted the help of the American Civil > Liberties Union.

My wife, her mother, a brother-in-law and two of her sisters all work for the same Southern California school district.

Their district has traditionally been a lower-income district, although with the new $200K-$400K homes being built on the southern end of town, that's changing. And they have a lot of "at-risk" students.

So they get some funding that other districts don't. But funding for all California school districts has been, and continues to be, cut to the bone.

Fullerton's down in Orange County, on the way to Anaheim. I'm not sure what their economic makeup is, but I'm reasonably sure they are better off than my wife's district. I don't know that any part of Orange County can reasonably be considered low-rent -- indeed, much of the O.C. consists of very affluent suburbs and exurbs of Los Angeles.

"The California constitution is very, very clear: My children attend a > free public school," Sandra Dingess says.

McCune, who created the program, acknowledges that his school system

> is trying something controversial, but he says lower-income families > can get help paying for the computers. "In all four schools, nobody > has been denied access because of a lack of ability to pay." > There are other concerns. Some parents say transferring to another > school is not fair. Others object to requests for tax returns and > financial records to obtain aid. "We don't think you have the right to > ask for that information," Dingess says. "You're not the IRS. You're a > public school."

I think I have to agree with that sentiment. But to make some kind of educated judgement about whether this program is fair or not, I'd have to have more details ...

"Our problem here in California is we're underfunded so much, we just > don't have the money to pay for it," school board member Minard Duncan > says. "I don't blame the parents for objecting to paying for what we > call free public education."

I agree with both of those statements too, and unfortunately I don't believe there are any easy answers.

Steve Sobol, Professional Geek 888-480-4638 PGP: 0xE3AE35ED Company website:

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Steve Sobol
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