Three parents and a former student have filed a proposed class action lawsuit against every school district and charter school in Idaho over allegations that the defendants have in recent years taken to “assessing and collecting various fees” from students and their families for supplies and coursework tantamount to violations of the U.S. Constitution.
Filed on behalf of all children grades K through 12 in Idaho, the 16-page complaint cites a 1970 ruling—in Paulson v. Minidoka County School District No. 331—in which the Idaho Supreme Court ruled that the levying of certain fees upon students violated the constitutional mandate ordering the provision of free common schools. The plaintiffs claim the defendants’ supposed practice of charging and collecting fees for “coursework, electives and supplies” effectively deprives members of the proposed class of “their right to a free education” as mandated by the state’s constitution.
From the complaint:
“Unconstitutional fees have been assessed against and paid by or for the Plaintiffs on behalf of their children for which they are entitled to be reimbursed, and unless the assessment of unconstitutional fees is discontinued the Plaintiffs will be assessed and required to pay such unconstitutional fees throughout the course of their matriculation through the grade levels from Kindergarten through grade 12.”
The plaintiffs decry the defendants’ alleged “multiple communications, demands, and requirements” of payment for enrolling in public schools as part of the registration process. Demanding money to attend school constitutes an “unlawful deprivation and taking of private property without due process of law or just compensation,” the plaintiffs argue.
The full list of 115 public school districts and approximately 50 charter school defendants can be found between pages two and four in the complaint below.