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Equal access and fairness

December 09, 2011

Thank you for your Dec. 4 article on the fallout from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California suit about school fees. Parents are very confused now about what they ought to do concerning materials for their children's classes.

The intention of the ACLU lawsuit was to get the state to again provide equitable funds for all public school programs like science labs, band and culinary arts, but the reality is the state education budget shrinks each year and this money isn't there.

Yes, the state should be sending the schools much more money, and we all should be working hard with Sacramento to get it back for the future; but asking parents to help out with paying for supplies was working to fill the gap the state created years ago by cutting school funding.

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The practice enabled these wonderful programs to continue. But now parents don't know if they should send money, how much, or who to send it to.

All parents should donate either time or money to their schools to help provide the wonderful extras children need. Yes, money comes to schools from state taxes, but it is not enough. So I give to the PTA, school booster groups, the students who knock on my door selling Bulldog Cards for their team, the Burbank Arts for All Foundation, and other groups that support student education programs.

If you cannot afford to donate money, your time is just as valuable. If you have never contributed to a school, but your student was given sheet music, an instrument, cooking supplies, safety goggles, or a ride on a school bus to a field trip, chances are someone else paid or worked for you.

The ACLU suit was all about equal access and fairness, but I don't think it's fair to the students to lose these programs because of the red tape it created.

The need is greater than ever because of the ACLU confusion. The teachers and the programs are still wonderful and this year’s education won't wait while the adults banter over budgets. Write a check now to the school down the street from you, or to one of the organizations that works district-wide. Any amount will help.

If you don't have a specific program you want to designate, the PTA at any school will put your money to good use — and if you ask for it, they will give you a receipt for an end-of-year tax deduction.

Karen Broderick

Burbank

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