The Glendale High School music program has long operated on a tight budget, held together in part by a $75 instrument rental fee that director Amy Rangel stretched to fund equipment repairs and other expenses.
The more than 100 students who borrow school-owned instruments each year paid, Rangel said, generating thousands of dollars. The handful that couldn’t were always accommodated.
But after the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California sued the state of California last year alleging that student fees violate a Constitutional mandate that public school districts provide free and equitable education to all, Rangel was forced to replace the rental fee with a voluntary contribution.
Four months into the school year, just six students have anted up, she said.
“We are basically having to ask for donations — which most families have chosen not to do — or fundraise,” Rangel said. “It is really rough. We are thousands of dollars behind.”