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Alameda still demanding fee

At the beginning of January 2001, the Alameda County Office of Education sent yet another letter to all private schools (including home schools) in the county, demanding a $25 processing fee, yet again. Surely by now the county's manpower and material cost to send out these letters has far exceeded the $25 per recipient it hopes to collect.

Cheating moth and rust

My sons Caleb (9) and Jacob (7) wanted to earn extra money by stacking wood on the porch. When it was time for me to pay them, Caleb said, "No, Mom, I don't want any money."

I was surprised. "Oh, Caleb, that is so kind of you," I replied. Later at the dinner table after Jacob shouted "Dad, I earned three dollars today!", I acknowledged to my husband, Jim, that Caleb had also worked but didn't want to be paid for it.

Caleb immediately frowned and shook his head as if to say, "Mom, don't tell anyone."

When I asked him why he didn't want me to tell Daddy, he said, "I don't want to lose my reward in heaven. So don't tell anyone."

- Tracey Phillips
Redding, CA

This time, along with the letter, the two file copies of the affidavit (one for the county and one for the school district) were returned to the private school. The letter indicated that the copies needed to be resubmitted along with the processing fee, causing some home schoolers to wonder whether their private school affidavit has actually been properly filed.

California law directs private schools to file the affidavit with the Superintendent of Public Instruction, in other words the state department of education. The duplicate copies of the affidavit are basically courtesy file copies for the county and the school district. The county's insistence on a processing fee for retaining a file copy of the affidavit is unreasonable. Such a fee is not authorized in the law and therefore, private schools cannot be penalized for failing to pay it.

Prior to the October filing deadline, HSLDA advised our Alameda County member families to file their affidavit, without a processing fee, directly with the state department of education in Sacramento. We recommended members send the document via certified mail in order to have a receipt proving that it had been filed. Any member family who has done this is in compliance with California law.

HSLDA anticipates that this adversarial relationship with Alameda County is not likely to change for the next school year. Please inform our office of any unusual correspondence you receive from Alameda County Office of Education (or any other county for that matter). — J. Michael Smith