September 2, 2014 5:58 pm

Critics sound off against high cost of school fees in Alberta

CALGARY- Just in time for the first day of school, there is a huge push back against the rising cost of school fees.

The Wildrose Party says they’ve heard numerous complaints from parents about the fees, which cover things like lunch supervision, supplies and busing. They plan to start a petition to end the fees, and say it would be easy to make up the $60 million shortfall.

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“There are so many examples of waste from this government where you could find this money,” said Wildrose education critic Bruce McAllister. “September has become ‘cheque-tember’ for parents, and parents have rightly had enough.

“These things are disguised by boards, but in reality they are passed down from the province to the boards to the parents, and that’s where the buck stops.”

The Calgary Board of Education (CBE) collects about $46 million per year from extra fees, and says it has no choice.

“If the per-student funding had not dropped, we could have invested more money in education than we have,” says Brad Grundy, CFO of the CBE. “But because we didn’t have that money, we had to make some choices.”

School fees cost the average family about $640 per year.

-With files from Francis Silvaggio

WATCH: Wildrose education critic Bruce McAllister says the mandatory fees are a hidden tax and an undue financial burden on parents, who already pay taxes to fund education.

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