School fees spelled out for parents

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There is no fine print, school divisions have been absolutely clear — there will be some school fees this year.

“Some people felt that all fees were eliminated,” said John Bailey, Foothills School Division superintendent of schools. “Some fees were eliminated. We reduced over $648,000 in common and user-fees this year.

“But, there are some things that still cost, extra-curricular being one of them.”

The Alberta government announced Bill 1 on March 2, a proposal to eliminate divisions’ schools fees for instructional supplies — such as textbooks, workbooks — and busing fees for students living the required distance from their school. The bill was passed in June.

Bailey said unfortunately some parents thought all fees had been cut.

“We absolutely recognize that things cost money, but we try and keep costs as low as possible, and to be transparent” said Bailey.

The division has posted a breakdown of costs on its website, which are so detailed it practically gives the price of shoestrings for gym shoes. Each of the schools in the division has their student’s fees broken down.

For example on the Foothills Composite High School list the highest fee is for the Global Sports Hockey Academy fee of $5,120 going down to the option zumba for $4.

The costs of field trips, to play on sports teams, CTS expenses and others are listed.

He said it is the most extensive list the division has provided in his career at Foothills.

“One of the things we want to emphasis is that if we do charge a fee, it is cost recovery,” Bailey said. “We are not making money off these things.”

As well, the division is willing to work with families who are having difficulty making ends meet.

“We can do payment programs with families — we have families who make payments throughout the year,” Bailey said. “The schools (the principals) have the authority to waive some or all of the fees.

“We ask for parents to go the principal first… We would never want a kid not to participate because of legitimate financial hardship.”

For information about FSD school fees go to fsd38.aab.ca//Fees.php

Christ the Redeemer Catholic Schools sent a letter to parents in the spring stating the fees that no longer exist in CTR Catholic due to the new provincial funding from Bill 1.

They include:

• ECS Registration fee, $50;

• General school fee: Grade 1-6, $50; Grade 7-9 – $55; and Grade 10-12 – $60

• Student agendas: $10

• Co-Curricular Fee Grades 1-6, $10; Grades 7-9, $30; Grade 10-12, $50

• Most secondary school complementary course fees for program such as Foods, Construction, New Media, and Art.

The letter also stated CTR Catholic will continue to charge fees for field trips (eg. museum trips), value added co-curricular experiences (eg. band trips or swimming programs), and all extra-curricular programs such as basketball team expenses.

CTR Catholic will also work with families who are facing financial

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