It’s almost time to go back to school for Josée Martel’s two children, who attend the Cité-des-jeunes High School in Vaudreuil-Dorion, which is part of the Trois-Lac School Board.
However, a few days ago, they received an unpleasant surprise: an increase in school fees due on Aug. 31.
“It is bullying, that’s what it is,” Martel said.
“What upsets me is that in June, they were not able to notify the parents of the fees that were going to be billed to them in September.”
She was billed $293 for her son, who is in the Secondary One enriched program, and $510 for her daughter in the Secondary Four music program.
Martel was expecting to pay $180 for her son and approximately $300 for her daughter.
“I knew his classes would be more advanced, but I did not know fees were attached to that, so I would have liked to know in June or when he was accepted,” she said.
All parents were given until Wednesday at the latest to pay up.
If not, the school won’t give out materials like books and schedules.
Martel asked the school’s administration why such a strict payment plan was imposed.
“We have no choice to ask for cash right away within that week or else we’re not going to get paid and that was very disturbing for me,” Martel said.
In a statement, the school board said the music program is changing its payment strategy.
Rather than parents paying smaller amounts throughout the year for field trips, instruments and private lessons, they will now pay more upfront.
The Trois-Lac School Board also acknowledged that not all parents were notified of the change and the board apologized.
“The school board acknowledges the delay between the reception of the bill and the deadline was short. We apologize,” the statement read.
The board also said parents with children in music programs can now pay fees in two instalments.
It said fees for the enriched program remained the same at $150, but additional fees are added depending on which class the student chooses.