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Largely Unchecked, Public School Fees May Affect Access

Largely unchecked public school fees in Louisiana are affecting low-income students' access to classes and services.

The Advocate of Baton Rouge reported Sunday that school officials and boards currently have near unregulated authority when it comes to imposing student fees.

The latest state tally says roughly a dozen school districts and schools imposed student fees totaling nearly $3 million in the fiscal year the ended in June 2016. Many districts fail to explain fee collection or assistance for low-income students, and some say they've withheld educational records because of a failure to pay fees and debts.

State Rep. Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge, sponsored legislation approved this year that formed a fee task force of education officials, parents and others. It's scheduled to make recommendations to the Legislature in January.