Action on school fees, welcomed news
News that the NDP government will work with school boards to reduce school fees is welcomed news for Red Deer Public Schools.
In today’s Speech from the Throne the government announced that Bill 1 will be the Act to Reduce School Fees.
“As part of our District’s Equity priority, school fees and fundraising have been one of our areas of focus. It has been a regular concern that we have raised when we’ve met with our MLA’s,” said Board Chair Bev Manning. “We recognize that fees are a challenge for many and in some ways it reduces educational opportunities for students. News that the Notley government is moving forward on this issue is welcomed by the district and our families.”
Fees for programs, textbooks, student transportation, lunchroom supervision, field trips and optional courses can add up for families. Last year Red Deer Public Schools collected $2.5 million in such fees. While fees may not be eliminated, we appreciate the government is working to reduce fees for families.
“We have been making progress on this but there just has not been the funds available to address this fully. This Board introduced a Fee Waiver Program 15 years ago to assist families facing financial challenges. Over the last nine years, we have waived fees totaling $736,095 for a total of 4947 students and their families. This demonstrates the challenges of school fees.”
“We understand from government that funding for this will be covered through “cost efficiencies” within the department. The government has committed that this initiative will not negatively impact school boards. While appreciative of the news, we need more information to see if and what the impact will be on the Department and school jurisdictions,” said Stu Henry, Superintendent of schools.
Click Here for: Letter to Parents: David Eggen, Minister of Education
For more information, please contact
- Bev Manning, Board Chair