Student's Constitutional Right to a Free Public Education Moves toward Becoming a Reality

June 29, 2012

Lara's AB 1575 Protects a Student's Right to a Free Public Education and Eliminates School's 'Pay to Learn' Practice

SACRAMENTO –Yesterday, AB 1575, by Assembly Member Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) passed the Senate Education Committee with a 6 to 1 vote; moving closer to fulfilling the promise of "free schools" to all California's children. The measure will provide the necessary guidance, notification and accountability systems currently lacking in our educational system to identify, eliminate and prevent the charging of student fees in violation of a student's constitutional right to a free public education, without imposing on school districts additional burdensome or costly new requirements.

"Since 1879 our constitution has required that public schools must be made accessible to all children regardless of class or social status. AB 1575 makes good on the 'free schools' promise and sets up a system that will address the issue in an efficient and equitable manner," said Assembly Member Lara.

Lara has authored the legislation to protect a student's right to a free public education and resolve the ACLU's September 2010 lawsuit on behalf of students alleging student fees violated the California Constitution's free public education guarantee and discriminated against lower-income students by creating a "pay to learn" system that threatened the integrity of our state's public education system.  Recently the LA County Superior Court ruled in favor the ACLU in Doe v. California and upheld the ACLU's "free school" guarantee lawsuit.  AB 1575 has been amended from earlier versions to narrowly focus on providing guidance to all school administrators and modifying the existing uniform complaint process to allow for resolution of parent and student concerns without costly litigation.

AB 1575 will next be heard on the Senate Floor.