11/8 Color Battle Fundraiser Participation and Prizes

 

Date:                         October 27, 2017

To:                              Area Superintendents, All Principals

From:                        Lynn Ryan, Uniform Complaint Compliance Officer

Subject:                    Color Battle Fundraiser Participation and Prizes

Reference:               Administrative Procedure 1700, Education Code 49010(b)(1), Education

                                 Code 49011(b)(4), Administrative Circular 508

 

We have noticed the growing popularity of the Color Battle fundraisers throughout the district.  As the result of a recent Uniform Complaint appeal, we would like to reiterate California Education Code (“EC”) regarding fundraisers:

EC § 4901(b)(1) states:

A fee charged to a pupil as a condition for registering for school or classes, or as a condition for participation in a class or an extracurricular activity, regardless of whether the class or activity is elective or compulsory, or is for credit is prohibited.

EC § 49011(b)(4) states:

A school district or school shall not offer course credit or privileges related to educational activities in exchange for money or donations of goods or services from a pupil or a pupil's parents or guardians, and a school district or school shall not remove course credit or privileges related to educational activities, or otherwise discriminate against a pupil, because the pupil or the pupil's parents or guardians did not or will not provide money or donations of goods or services to the school district or school.

In summary, what this means to site principals, who are responsible for approving fundraisers, is the following:

  1. Prizes awarded for participation in fundraisers cannot be related to any educational activity such as recess, extra credit, extra classes, credit for participation in a class, out-of-class time during the school day, etc.
  2. Students cannot be required to pay to participate in any school activity.  If the reward for participation is an “educational activity,” and if there is a minimum monetary requirement to participate in that activity, it is a violation of the EC.  For example, the Color Battle fundraiser requires $30 minimum to earn color packets to throw at other students.  If that “prize” activity is held any time during the school day, and the requirement is a minimum donation of $30, it is a violation of EC.  It is considered a fee as a condition for participation in an educational activity. 
  3. Students cannot be required to self-identify their socioeconomic status as a condition of participation. This would be considered a discriminatory practice.  If students are asked to speak to a school employee and tell them the reason they are unable to pay or donate money as a condition for participation, it is a violation of EC.  They must simply be allowed to participate.

  4. If the “prize” for the fundraiser is an educational activity (and since students must not be required to donate or pay for any educational activity) the school must make the fact that students do not have to pay or donate money, abundantly clear to all students before and during the fundraiser.  Flyers, bulletins, announcements, broadcasts, etc. must announce that students are NOT required to pay or donate money in order to participate, and that they may tell the designated school employee solely of their wish to participate, WITHOUT having to state the reason for their desire to participate.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.