Look for more fees for school kids

The Texas Tribune has a story today warning that the decision of the budgetstrapped Keller ISD to charge for school bus service could be only the beginning of a new round of fees in Texas’ “free” public schools.

The story doesn’t offer any additional examples, but more fees (in addition to what kids and parents already pay for extracurricular activities) are likely in the wake of the Legislature’s $4 billion cut to school finance formulas over the next two years. Lawmakers also cut an additional $1 billionplus from public education grants for things such as fullday prekindergarten.

The story also raises the question of how many fees can be considered constitutional. Maybe this will be one more issue school districts or other plaintiffs will raise when they file the next, longanticipated lawsuit against the state over public school funding.

As I noted in a posting last week, Keller ISD plans to charge $185 per student per semester for bus service with siblings discounted at $135 per semester. That will be a significant amount of money for many families.

Lowincome kids who quality for free and reduced lunches will be charged “only” $100 per semester, money that many families simply may not have.

Many students will end up walking to school, including along major thoroughfares that lack sidewalks, and safety may quickly become an issue.

Elections do have consequences, folks. It’s still a little early, but remember that when the party primaries for legislative seats roll around next March.

http://www.texastribune.org/texaseducation/publiceducation/studentfeesredefinefreepublicschool/

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