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Last week I wrote about the cost of keeping an arts program alive through instructor subsidies. This week I ‘d like to examine the issue of student studio fees in arts education programs. I know that in our school district, studio fees are charged to help subsidize the dwindling budgets. But with the economy in the tank, student fees are harder to collect, and since they are actually illegal according to California ed code, they are unenforceable.
But, because it has become practice to collect such fees, many districts have adjusted their arts budgets to reflect this subsidy. So in tough economic times, an arts program will suffer not only a loss in student fees but reduced district revenue as well. Should ed code be changed so that students can be required to pay a fee? Maybe parents should be charged an overall “educational fee” at the beginning of each year to cover all educational expenses. Is “free public education” really free anymore?