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Wildrose would eliminate mandatory school fees

CALGARY, AB (October 15, 2014): Today, Wildrose Education Critic Bruce McAllister announced the Wildrose plan to eliminate mandatory school fees, highlighting the ongoing PC failure to address the issue as they’ve promised in order to give Alberta families a break.

A Wildrose government would eliminate all mandatory school fees including instructional fees and noon hour supervision fees for all public, Catholic, and public charter schools to ensure that parents aren’t hit with expensive bills every September just to send their kids to publicly funded schools.

“Life for families in Alberta is expensive enough as it is. By relieving families of these burdensome fees, we are giving parents a break and empowering them to spend more of their money on the things that are important to them,” said McAllister. “The PCs have been promising for years to do something about the fees Alberta families are levelled with every September but we’ve seen nothing in terms of action. Wildrose is committed to eliminating these fees and giving parents a break.”

The government has estimated it would cost approximately $85 million to eliminate these fees. Wildrose has identified $1 billion worth of available savings in its 2014 budget recommendations and would fund the elimination of school fees through those savings.

Despite the PCs voicing their opposition to school fees, when it came time to act they failed. In 2012, PC MLAs united to defeat a Wildrose amendment to the Education Act that would have eliminated mandatory fees.

Wildrose Calgary-West and former Calgary Board of Education chair Sheila Taylor says the Wildrose plan would come in the form of additional funding for school boards, meaning no school boards or schools would have to fund the difference.

“Eliminating mandatory school fees will not impact the quality of education our children receive in the classroom,” Taylor said. “This is something that we would work in partnership with school boards and front-line experts to determine how best to move forward.

“Education issues are top of mind for voters in Calgary-West,” Taylor said. “On October 27, they have an opportunity to send the PCs a message and vote for a party that will put their interests first and give them a break on these burdensome fees.”