January 2009

Iowa schools can no longer charge fees for field trips that take place during school hours, the Iowa Department of Education ruled in October.

Under state law, field trips that are tied to classroom instruction fall under the umbrella of tuition, which is paid by the state. If an activity is not tied to the curriculum, it should not be held during the school day. The ruling prevents schools from asking parents to pay for field trips directly; however, parent groups and booster clubs can raise money to fund the outings.

At Black Hawk Elementary in Burlington, Iowa, the PTO is providing funds to make sure students continue to have field trips, according to principal Shawn Stringer. “We have a wonderful PTO,” he told the Hawk Eye newspaper. “They have already approached me to make sure we can continue to allow students to have those experiences.”

In Clear Lake, Iowa, a $150,000 financial bequest recently paid for field trips to see musical and historical reenactments. The donor asked that the funds be used to provide enrichment activities affected by budget cuts.