This past week, the Government of Alberta introduced Bill 1 in the legislature – an Act to Reduce School Fees – which will take some pressure off Alberta families and make life more affordable.
According to Education Minister David Eggen, the government is making practical changes to make life more affordable in the province and a perfect example of this is the introduction of Bill 1.
“Two years ago, our government ran on a platform commitment to reduce the burden of school on Alberta families,” Eggen said. “The introduction of this important piece of legislation is us following through on the commitment.”
Eggen added that he has travelled across the province and spoken to thousands of families in his near-two years as Minister of Education about the unfair burden that schools place on them.
“These fees act as a barrier to a public education, one which should not exist for students, no matter their circumstances,” Eggen stated. “The previous government stood by and watched as costs on parents piled up every September – and they did nothing. This is money that could be better spent on food, clothing, the mortgage and other life necessities. Our government is doing things differently”
If passed, Bill 1 will eliminate instructional supplies and material fees for the parents of nearly 600,000 Alberta students.
Starting this fall, paying for textbooks, workbooks, printing and paper costs incurred by schools and much more will be a thing of the past, according to Bill 1.
Bill 1 will also remove fees charged to students who live outside of the School Act’s defined walk limit and ride the bus to their designated school.
Speaking of Bill 1, Clearview Public Schools Superintendent Peter Barron said, “The reduction of fees will be welcome news for our parents. As of yet, we are not sure exactly which fees will be eliminated, nor do we know the financial implications for Clearview.”
Barron added that Clearview was looking forward to future discussions with the government to gather additional details.
“All told, this legislation will save Albertans more than $50 million annually,” Eggen said. “We will also launch a series of conversations about school fees, and about what actually makes up a public education. Our goal will be to reduce fees even more in the years ahead.”
Eggen said that the government would continue to protect and improve education, even in difficult economic times, because they know the difference it makes in the lives of the future generations.
“We have committed to stable and predictable funding in Budgets 2015 and 2016 and we know that money has been used to hire 1,100 additional teachers and to retain 800 existing jobs that would have otherwise been lost under the previous government,” Eggen added. “So join me and my colleagues in celebrating Bill 1 and our government’s efforts to make your lives better.”