View Mobile Site

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos


Our View: You have to pay to play

Posted: August 21, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: August 21, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Change is coming to our local schools.

A proposed state Assembly bill (AB 165) making its way through Sacramento, along with a class-action lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union, are both poised to change the way schools can collect funding for various programs.

The lawsuit alleges that schools unfairly charge for programs that must be available to all students free of charge. The Assembly bill, which is expected to go before the state Senate next week, seeks to satisfy the lawsuit’s demands.

It may all boil down to California schools not being allowed to charge for programs because the state must provide free education to its residents. Charging any money at all for participation in any programs — curricular, co-curricular or extra curricular from lab fees to uniforms to art supplies —  will likely be banned as an unfair burden on students and their parents.

It’s about equal access, and we couldn’t support that more.

Clearly, educators’ understanding of the process of learning has evolved from a focus on “reading, writing and ‘rithmetic” to the realization that a complete education — especially at the high-school level — involves complex socialization skills, expanded perspectives and multiple layers and types of information acquisition.

Football may impart critical team-building skills and help keep a kid out of trouble — a service to the community as critical as that of preparing a college engineering major with AP science classes.

We want all our Santa Clarita Valley students to have the best possible start in life that we can give them.

At the same time, anyone who knows anything about our outstanding local schools will understand that we have many top-tier sports and performing-arts programs — and that those aren’t covered by the state’s routine funding formulas.
Parents who have supported students through football, track, band or choir know a heavy commitment of both time and money is needed on their part.

Our championship-caliber sports teams, such as Saugus High School’s multiyear state dominance in girls cross-country, and many league, CIF and state championships from our football programs — these aren’t sufficiently funded by the state.

Our choirs and dance teams that perform all over the world, enriching the high school experience of participants and creating global name recognition for our excellent school programs — these aren’t sufficiently funded by the state.

Rob Challinor, superintendent of the William S. Hart Union High School District, said parents may need to adjust their expectations under the changes that are coming.

We don’t want that to mean a downward adjustment in parental expectations. And neither, we know, do Challinor or any of the  other leaders in the Hart district, who have been long at work on a solution to this potential problem, in spite of the fact no clear guidelines are yet made available — the legislation is still pending.

The district has already created a nonprofit fundraising foundation, WiSH, which exists for just such a reason.
It is designed to collect donations from valley residents and businesses and use them to fund various teams and programs district-wide.

That could be at least a partial solution.

We believe there are difficult choices ahead. This is a community decision, a quality-of-life issue for the entire Santa Clarita Valley.

We call on generosity of the caring and generous businesses, organizations and residents who call the SCV home to join the dialogue and help find a solution.


Most Popular Articles

There are no articles at this time.
Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.


Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...