The Board of Trustees of Rocky View Schools (RVS) approved an administrative procedure for the charging of instructional resource fees for optional programs or courses June 15 in response to the provincial government’s Bill 1: An Act to Reduce School Fees, which received Royal Assent May 4.
Under Bill 1, school boards in Alberta are not allowed to charge parents for basic supplies, including textbooks, workbooks, photocopying and printing, or paper. Schools are allowed to charge a fee for instructional resources for optional courses or programs.
“The good news for parents is that those (basic) fees have been eliminated and the same resources will be available for the students,” said Associate Superintendent of Business and Operations Darrell Couture. “(For) the school-established optional course fees and program fees and the school-established optional fees, the processes are outlined in this procedure in a very clear (manner).”
Under the procedure, schools will be required to post on their websites by June 30 the rationale for any fees parents may be required to pay the following year.
Schools will also be required to have proposed fees for the following year reviewed by the area director and submitted to the superintendent of schools for approval by May 31 of the previous year.
Some of the optional programs and courses covered by the procedure are band, outdoor education, fine arts and advanced placement courses. Some of the items parents may have to purchase for their children to take these optional courses are flash drives, computer headsets, musical instruments and photographs.
Parents will also be required to pay for things such as field trips and graduation fees.
When the Alberta Teachers’ Association and the Teachers Employer Bargaining Association (TEBA) reached a new agreement May 24, it included a one-year commitment to provide a $75 million Classroom Improvement Fund (CIF). Superintendent of Schools Greg Luterbach sat on a committee to determine how the funding would be allocated across the province.
RVS will receive approximately $2.6 million to use for classroom improvements, which includes everything from hiring teachers and support staff to purchasing equipment or materials for the classroom.
Each RVS school will receive a base of $20,000 plus $72 per student, based on June 1 enrolment figures. Schools will be required to form a school CIF committee to include the principal, one assistant principal and a minimum of two teacher representatives, which will then develop a plan for disseminating the funding in the school.
RVS approved a new fee schedule for transportation at its May 4 meeting. At the June 15 meeting, trustees approved a change to the board policy on transportation fees to ensure it complies with Bill 1.
Under Bill 1, school boards are required to seek ministerial approval if an increase greater than five per cent is proposed to the transportation fee for students living within 2.4 kilometres of their designated school.
Voters will have more than one option of where to vote for their ward trustee in the upcoming municipal election Oct. 16, after the RVS board of trustees approved a bylaw allowing for more than one voting station.
“Earlier, the board had approved and the minister had authorized the use of a modified voting procedure under which more than one voting station can be provided in each ward,” Superintendent of Schools Greg Luterbach said.
“Procedurally, a bylaw is required to be passed by the board in order to meet the requirement of the act.”
The board unanimously approved three readings of the new bylaw.