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Public Schools Charging Some School Fees

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--As we count down the days until school begins for most students here in the corridor many parents are wrapping up "back-to-school" shopping for their kids supplies.

Even though the shopping is ending, the spending may not be.

The reason is fees. One high school outside of Iowa requires their students to buy 600 dollar computers.

The state does allow districts to charge certain fees in public schools, but as many parents will tell you, they just seem to be getting more expensive every year.
 
Jerry Mendoza has four sons in elementary school and says he worries about their school fees.

"You do have to pay these fees for pictures and meals and traveling and other expenses and I think it just kind of builds up," he said.

The fees are something public school parents in many districts are seeing more of every year.

In Iowa City, for example elementary school parents can be charged $20 to rent text books, another 25 to rent an instrument.

In high school it's $60 for a text book, $5 for an id card, $90 for a year book, and if your child want to get into an advanced placement class for college, it's $89 per class test.

"I know other states that have athletic programs, they have to pay to play and that's just not right," said Tim Linder who's a former teacher.

Iowa is not a pay to play state, but summer camps for sports like football do cost extra.

"Any student that wants to participate in an athletic program or an extracurricular activity of some kind there's not an additional charge for those times of things," said Craig Hansel, Iowa City Community School District chief financial officer."

Iowa only allows its schools to charge for fees in seven categories-like textbooks, lunches, transportation and specialty equipment

"I really like the restrictive nature of what our schools can charge out students and I think it makes it more accessible and more affordable to more students," Hansel said.

The state does offer total fee waivers and reduced fee waivers for parents who just can't avoid the fees.
 
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