FirstLine Schools provides a range of programming to students across academic, social, extracurricular, athletic, and other domains. As public schools, FirstLine will strive to create these programs with minimal contributions (fees) from families and participating students. All fees requested from families will be communicated to families as early as possible, and a clear waiver process will be made available to ensure no undue economic hardship is caused by student fees. In no case will any fee prohibited by local, state, or federal law be authorized by FirstLine Schools leadership, and in no case will students be denied or delayed admission to any instructional activity due to failure to pay a fee. Failure to pay any required fee shall not result in the withholding of a student’s educational record, in accordance with R.S. 17:112.
The 2020-21 fees for all FirstLine schools can be found here, this list includes the purpose and use of fees, and the amount of each fee.
Collection of Fees
- School Leaders (or their designee) will create a description of all fees to be collected by the school within the authorized range for school fees. Schools will make every effort to communicate these fees before the beginning of each academic year and will communicate any updates via the school website, direct family communication, or other appropriate means.
- School Leaders (or their designee) will collect fees from families and/or scholars. The standard methods of payment are credit card, check or money orders. Cash is not preferred but will also be accepted.
- In accordance with FirstLine Schools Financial Policies and Procedures, the school will generate a receipt or other documentation of the transaction for the school’s records and for those of the family.
Spending of Fees
As a general practice, student fees are designed to offset the cost of programming funded primarily by other funding sources, including recurring per-pupil revenue and philanthropy. School Leaders (or their designee) will determine the appropriate use for funds collected via student fees and will be responsible for clearly communicating these plans to students and families. Typical uses of fees include uniforms, equipment, and transportation for athletic and co-curricular organizations; participation in special events; and other supplementary programming that complement the core mission of the school.
Economic Hardship Waiver
FirstLine Schools seeks to balance fairness (i.e., all participating students should pay the same fee) with equity and an acknowledgment of economic hardship facing many families in the communities that we serve. As such, School Leaders (or their designee) will offer fee reductions and waivers to students and families who complete the following steps:
- Make a good faith effort to pay the full fee, including by requesting additional time and/or a payment plan.
- Request a waiver or fee reduction from the School Leader (or designee) in writing via email or letter
- Provide additional documentation requested by the School Leader (or designee)
- Commit to informing the School Leader (or designee) if the family’s economic circumstances change and the fee is able to be paid later in the academic year
The Louisiana Department of Education provides the following examples of a family status that may be grounds to grant a waiver: families receiving unemployment benefits or public assistance, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid; foster families caring for children in foster care; and families that are homeless. School Leaders may use these indicators and other information to make their determination. Waivers due to economic hardship will be kept confidential by the School Leader to protect student and family privacy. Students who receive a fee waiver will never be discriminated against or overtly identified.
School Leaders (or their designee) will communicate the decision regarding a waiver on a rolling basis directly to families in writing. All waivers will be kept on file at the school. If audited, all personally identifiable student information will be removed from the waiver.
For appeals of economic hardship fee waivers, parents may contact FirstLine Schools’ CEO, Sabrina Pence. She can be reached at (504) 941-1827 or firstname.lastname@example.org . The appeal should be emailed to the CEO.