Rocco Palumbo and Brock Rubley share a vise to work on their jewelry pieces during class at Mountain Vista High in Highlands Ranch. (Erin Hull, The Denver Post)
Gone are the days when parents could send their children to public school with a few classroom supplies and some lunch money.
Strapped school district budgets, caused by dwindling state and federal dollars, are forcing parents to dig deeper into their pockets as more school systems in Colorado and across the country turn to student fees to maintain services and programs.
Want to play sports? That could cost up to $130 at Adams 12 Five Star Schools.
Taking an advanced-placement class? You could pay up to $189 in fees at Jefferson County Public Schools.
Need to ride the bus to school? An annual transportation pass in the Douglas County School District is $150.
The fees pile up quickly for Lisa Ramsey,


Colorado Classroom covers local and state education issues affecting K-12 and higher education students in the state of Colorado.
who has four children at Adams 12.
Ramsey, a social worker, said despite a monthly payment plan, she and her husband owe $600 in past-due fees for services and items including transportation, textbooks, physical-education uniforms and advanced courses.
"It's very frustrating since we pay taxes, too," Ramsey said. "I am very pro-public education. I certainly don't mind putting