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Standing Up For Students: Mandatory school fees a regressive tax that must be abolished

EDMONTON, AB (September 9, 2015): On day two of Wildrose Standing Up for Students week, Wildrose Shadow Education Minister Mark Smith is calling into question the spike in school fees to record levels as kids head back to school.

A key campaign promise of the NDP was to cut school fees by half. Instead, after forming government, parents across the province are spending record amounts on school fees as classes start again, all while the NDP boasts $103 million in new funding for school boards.


“School fees are a burden to families, and are quite simply the most regressive tax in our province,” Smith said. “We just heard the NDP brag about over $100 million being sent to school boards, but it looks like most of that money isn’t making the front lines. With many parents worrying about jobs and the economy, it’s wrong families have to make the very difficult choices on where their hard earned money should go when they are paying a cover charge for their children to attend school.”


Wildrose fully budgeted eliminating mandatory school fees, such as locker or administration fees, through its campaign platform.


With the province facing one of its largest budgets in history, Smith said the NDP need to explain why their massive increases in spending are failing to touch the front lines effectively and are resulting in even higher school fees.


Mandatory school fees in Calgary, based on numbers released by the Calgary Board of Education for a junior high school student can top $217 per student.


“Albertans know that there shouldn’t be a surcharge on public education,” Smith said. “Mandatory school fees hit low income families the hardest. I call on the NDP government to take a hard look at their books, actually develop a budget, and work out a solution for Alberta families.”