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Stop Downloading Funding Shortfalls onto Calgary Parents: McAllister

EDMONTON, AB (May 7, 2014): The PC government must start addressing the rules surrounding mandatory school fees and stop shaking down parents and local school boards to make up for its funding shortfalls, Wildrose Education Critic Bruce McAllister said today. 

The PCs have been promising for years to address mandatory school fees. In 2012, then Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk indicated the province would take action when he said:

“Anything under the [provincially] set curriculum should not carry additional fees ... any child who takes the basics should be free of additional fees.”

But this hasn’t happened and now Calgary parents are facing major school fee increases for school materials, busing and supervision.

McAllister said the PC government needs to stop downloading the costs of its mismanagement onto parents.

“This government is nickel-and-diming parents, and it needs to stop,” McAllister said. “The PCs need to start prioritizing families, not just in election years but every year. Why should parents have to pay more and more just because this government can’t get its act together and keep its promises?”

McAllister noted that many Calgary school boards are experiencing an overall drop in funding levels per student even though their enrollment levels are increasing.

“As usual, this government is asking Albertans to do more with less while it spends haphazardly on perks, salaries and severances for itself,” McAllister said. “The money’s there. It’s a matter of priority. This government just isn’t prioritizing families.”

Wildrose has repeatedly called for the elimination of mandatory school fees.