Reducing school fees paid by parents delays school board’s budget plans.
Even though there is still a full third of the school year ahead, boards are already looking at their budgets for 2017-18.
Bill 1, aimed at reducing costs for parents of school aged children, is currently in the Alberta legislature awaiting its third reading. If passed, “it will end school board charges for instructional supplies or materials and fees for eligible students taking the bus to their designated school.” (Alberta Government website)
While reducing education costs is good news for families, school boards such as SPERD (St Paul Education Regional Division No. 1) are awaiting news from the government as to how the lost revenue will be offset without a reduction in services. Currently, school fees contribute about $180 000 to SPERD’s annual income.
If Bill 1 is passed, starting in the 2017/18 school year, public school boards will no longer be permitted to charge fees for instructional supplies or materials.
Included in this category would be fees for:
- printing and paper supplies
- any common fees charged to an entire student body or grade cohort
If a child is enrolled in his or her designated school, and that school is greater than 2.4 kilometres away from home, families will not be charged any transportation fees.
As SPERD school board chair, Heather Starosielski says, “We always want to keep fees down, but we also need to provide the services. Hopefully the reduction in fees will be fully funded by the government.”