CALGARY, AB (September 6, 2012): Families continue to be nickel and dimed by the PC government after being asked to pay up to hundreds of dollars in mandatory school fees as kids headed back to school this week, Wildrose Education Critic Bruce McAllister said today.
These mandatory school fees cost about $100 on the typical family but can increase exponentially for some students. Many of these fees are tacked on to classes that are required for students to receive a high school diploma in Alberta. Recently parents in Calgary have seen fees increase, while some school boards are feeling pressured to hire collection agencies for parents who fail to pay up. Examples of these mandatory fees include locker, noon supervisory, compulsory, basic, instructional and non-instructional fees. “The PC government continues to remain out of touch with Alberta families by continuing to hit their pocketbooks with these surprise fees and hidden taxes every September,” McAllister said. “Instead of wasting millions of dollars on patronage appointments, lavish AHS expense accounts and corporate welfare we need to prioritize our resources and put hardworking Alberta families first.” Former Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk agreed early this year that these fees should only be charged for optional programs beyond the required curriculum, “Any child from kindergarten to Grade 12 who… does not participate in an enriched program ought not to be charged with additional fees” However, the PC government still has failed to make any commitment to remove these fees to date. McAllister said that it’s time for concerns of any funding shortfalls for school boards should be met head on by Education Minister Jeff Johnson to ensure no unfair barriers to education and to alleviate financial burdens on Alberta families. “We have seen the PC government treat Alberta tax dollars like its personal piggy bank to reward PC insiders instead of focusing on priorities,” McAllister said. “It’s time for Mr. Johnson to finally take a serious look at this common sense solution that will strengthen communities across the province.”