Families of nearly 600,000 students across the province will save money on certain school and transportation fees in the 2017-18 school year.
An Act to Reduce School Fees, proclaimed in June 2017, eliminates fees for instructional supplies or materials. Transportation fees for eligible students who live more than 2.4 kilometres from their designated schools are also removed. Funding is being provided to school boards to help offset any potential revenue loss as a result of this legislation.
Starting in the 2017-18 school year, parents are no longer being charged fees for instructional supplies or materials, for:
All remaining fees charged by a school board must meet several criteria, including:
This means that common or generic fees — often previously referred to, among other titles, as instructional fees, instructional materials, or basic fees — can no longer be charged.
School busing fees have been eliminated for the following students:
In some circumstances, busing fees may still apply, including:
Students who take municipal transit, and live 2.4 kilometres or more from their designated school, will only pay the difference between provincial transportation funding and the cost of a municipal transit pass. For example, in Calgary:
School boards are receiving funding to offset the loss of fee revenues as a result of this legislation. This will help ensure that boards can maintain or increase the education programming they provide to students. This funding, through Budget 2017, is made available through efficiencies and savings found in Alberta Education and other departments.
The budget also increases overall funding for education by $213 million in 2017/18 over the 2016/17 forecast, providing school boards with dollars for every new student and protecting grants for First Nations students, English Language Learners and others with diverse learning needs.
Currently, school boards have the ability to set school fees to cover a number of different expenses.
To date, school fees have varied significantly from school-to-school, even within a single school jurisdiction.
By amending the School Act, through An Act to Reduce School Fees, and introducing two regulations – the School Fees and Costs Regulation and the School Transportation Regulation – school boards will not be able to charge families for certain school and transportation fees.
If you would like more information on the fees for your school, contact your school or local school board.