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Governor Vetoes Legislation Which Would Have Required Reimbursement for Impermissible Student Fees (AB 165)

Assembly Bill 165 (Lara) would have, among other things, required school districts and county offices of education to repay students and/or parents and guardians for student fees charged in violation of the free school guarantee in the California Constitution. The bill was the result of a settlement agreement reached in a suit filed by the ACLU against various state agencies. The suit alleged that school districts state-wide were being allowed to charge unlawful school fees.

Governor Brown vetoed the bill on Saturday, October 8, 2011. While the veto disposes of AB 165, the free school guarantee remains intact. Many provisions in the bill, including those which prohibited pupil fees, were declarative of existing law. School districts and county offices of education remain prohibited from charging fees in violation of the free school guarantee. As a general rule, only fees specifically authorized by law may be charged. Accordingly, parents and students who can show they were charged unlawful fees may be able to get reimbursement notwithstanding the veto of the bill.

Kinglsey Bogard can provide advice and guidance regarding specific student fee issues.

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