By Jamie Rieger
A Statistics Canada report, released last week, suggests that parents who send their children to public schools in Alberta are paying triple what the costs were five years ago. But, Prairie Rose School Division treasurer, Pat Cox said the stunning jump may be more a case of changes in accounting, with more items now being included on financial statements than a case of school divisions increasing mandatory fees.
“There are things at the school level, such as field trips, that are now showing on financial statements that were not before, things that come from school-generated funds and not instructional,” said Cox.
“There may even be inconsistencies with the schools. One school may record it as a fee and another may not.”
According to the PRSD financial statement for the year ending August 31, 2014, transportation fees totaled $21,650, fees charged for instruction material and supplies totaled $354,821, and school generated funds totaled $604,019.
“Our policies have not changed in a number of years and they certainly have not tripled,. We have policy that says we can not charge for more than the basic fee,” she said. “But if parents have their children in things like music or sports, there may be a participation fee.”
PRSD has not changed their school fees policy since 2010 and can not charge for more than the basic fee, but may charge for items such as materials for specific classes. Currently, their fees are $70 for Kindergarten to Grade 6 and $140 for Grades 7-12.