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A new lawsuit targets every Idaho school for "unconstitutionally" charging students fees 

click to enlarge ANTONIOGUILLEM/FOTOLIA
  • Antonioguillem/Fotolia

A class action lawsuit has been filed against every single school district and charter school in Idaho, alleging that Idaho schools unconstitutionally charge students fees.

The lawsuit, first reported by the Coeur d'Alene Press this week, was filed in May by former Idaho Supreme Court Justice Robert Huntley. It lists every K-12 student in Idaho and their families as plaintiffs whose rights have been violated by the fees.

The lawsuit holds that schools collecting fees for coursework, electives or supplies goes against the state constitution's mandate to provide free public schools. It says schools statewide assess and collect about $20 million a year in unconstitutional fees, which can include registration materials, fee payment links on websites, fee announcements by school administrators and teachers and required fees in student handbooks. It adds that school districts expect families to purchase items for school supplies, which violates the U.S. Constitution.

Coeur d'Alene Public Schools spokesman Scott Maben did not comment on the lawsuit. But he explained that individual schools may set a "reasonable fee" to cover the cost of extracurricular activities like sports and clubs. Those fees may be waived in a family can't afford the fee.

"By policy, we do not charge fees for anything related to the instructional day, such as classes for academic credit," he says.

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