Have your say on fees and get involved!

On Tuesday May 6th at 3pm your public school trustees will be asking questions of administration and debating a potential widespread fee increase for 2014-15 school year. Some fees jump over 50%, most others at a higher rate than inflation. Busing fees are amongst the highest in the province, and Noon Supervision fees are the highest in Alberta. Some jurisdictions in Alberta are not increasing fees this school year. The agenda is here item 7.1 2014-15 Operating and Capital Budgets. Just beyond the agenda is pages of financial numbers to have a look at. A few items in the news media have breakdowns and comparisons (here), (here), (here) and (here).

You can contact your Trustee to ask a question or raise a concern (you can find contact information here). You can register to speak at the meeting before noon on meeting day (details here). It is at the May 6th meeting that the proposal may be changed prior to the May 20th vote, so it is important to share your concerns at or prior to this meeting. You can watch via livestream is you can no make the meeting at: http://www.cbe.ab.ca/Trustees/board_meetings.asp.

In 2011, The CBE enlisted Stormy Lake consulting to undertake a research project on parents and staff views on fees. Some of the wisdom from the report as follows:

Both parents and administrative staff agree that the waiver standard is too low, and should be adjusted to today’s standard of living. The result of this is no changes to the waiver level.

Most parents appear to accept that fees are part of the education system. However, the most opposed fees are for noon supervision.

Parents are sensitive to perceived threats. “Support this or we have to take it out of the instructional budget” is taken as a threat to the quality of the child’s education.

Fees are more than fees. Fees are seen to be more than just the set fees, they are all the costs “mandated” by the classroom.

In Setting fees: Synthesizing the input from parents through this consultation would result in the following: Only the costs associated with the service should be charged to users.

Separate reasons for transportation into educational necessity and personal choice. Only charge fees for personal choice transportation.

Separate transportation fees from noon supervision fees. Examine the true cost of noon supervision and ensure the fees match the cost.

Every child who stays for lunch pays for noon supervision and set guidelines for noon supervision ratios at schools.

Get active, get engaged and get involved to help our public education system better for parents and students.

3 thoughts on “Have your say on fees and get involved!

  1. Why am I being penalized by the CBE with having to pay bussing and lunchroom fees because the Provincial government has chosen not to build a school in my community?

    (In some cases students in walking distance to schools have to pay these fees because they didn’t win the ‘lottery’ to get into their neighbourhood school and are also being penalized financially by the CBE because the Provincial government doesn’t fund enough schools for the number of students in a community.

    It used to be that I only had to pay transportation fees and that the CBE would cover the lunchroom cost as my children have no way of coming home for lunch. Now with the changes in fees, I am expected to pay this cost too. Some parents can at least write off this fee on their taxes, but stay at home parents can not. I don’t understand why lunchroom fees are so high. If there are 25 kids staying for lunch hour at a cost of $3.50/kid are they really paying a supervisor $87.50/hour to watch them?

    Additionally 2 of the schools my students went to last year charged a $10 noon hour activity fee on top of lunch room fees. I’m really not sure what they were for and it doesn’t seem like much but we are nickled and dimed to death with fees and fundraisers in the CBE.

    Thanks for listening!

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