Who sets fees for optional courses?
Each school examines programs being offered and the required materials. The cost for additional materials to supplement the program are then calculated. The costs determine the fee charged to students, and the fee is set on a cost-recovery basis (see Administrative Procedure 505: School and Administrative Fees).
Why are there fee discrepancies between school boards?
School boards work closely with administration to ensure the resources allocated by the government are invested in ways that best serve the educational needs and interests of students—which is certainly the case within EIPS. As a result, school fees charged to families can often vary between school boards.
How do I know EIPS is not making a profit by charging fees?
As per Administrative Procedure 505: School and Administrative Fees, school fees shall be used within the school year and set on a cost-recovery basis. Additionally, fees can’t be charged in lieu of fundraising.
Fees are strictly used to cover a portion of the costs involved in delivering the program for which they are charged. Some fees are identified to cover the costs of specific optional activities, such as field trips, yearbooks and graduations. The fees related to these activities are not mandatory, should a student choose not to participate.
What measures did the Board take to ensure students achieve a quality education, but also to ensure fees are not cost‐prohibitive for parents?
In January 2022, the Board set parameters for the 2022-23 school fees. Principals met twice with their respective school councils to discuss these parameters, existing fees, factors affecting fees, new fees, etc. As fees were submitted, they were reviewed for compliance with the established parameters, reasonableness and those outside the parameters were followed up on with the school administration prior to approval by the Board of Trustees.
Some of the fees for 2022-23 are above the maximum increase of 5% and 7% for food courses. Why?
- As the Alberta economy continues to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, there are now new factors such as the conflict in Ukraine hitting the global economy and affecting the prices of many goods in the province. As always, EIPS aims to provide high‐quality education by balancing the budget constraints with the fiscal realities of families.
- Although schools mostly adhered to the parameters for increasing school fees for the 2022-23 school year, the current external global economic conditions have made this difficult. The effects are not only felt on courses that require hard goods to be purchased such as lumber and steel, but also for courses where services are provided by external third parties as they themselves are trying to keep up with inflationary pressures. Inflation has reached an 18-year high and there are many other factors from the pandemic we've yet to fully understand the scope of, for example supply chain issues continue to be a factor. The largest fee increases are being seen in the areas of foods, construction, extracurricular athletics and field trips.
- Fees for things like officiating, and administration of such, have increased overall between 7-10% when comparing 2019 to 2021 invoices.
- Since schools last set their fees in March 2021, the price of regular gasoline in Edmonton has risen by 41.3% according to GasBuddy, which tracks prices across Canada and the US.
When are fees due?
Fees are due within 30 days of being assessed. Parents and independent students have a number of payment options, including paying at the school and paying online using Visa, MasterCard or debit card—when available from your financial institution.
Are school supplies included in fees?
No. The purchase of general school supplies remains the responsibility of parents. If schools are purchasing supplies in bulk on behalf of parents, they can continue to do so on a cost-recovery basis. Parents have the option of buying these supplies from the school or on their own.
If the cost of purchasing items places a burden on a family, there are other options available. For instance, EIPS partners with the United Way for its Tools for School campaign on an annual basis. The program provides backpacks and school supplies to students in kindergarten through Grade 12 whose families have limited resources. Families either order the supplies through their school or call EIPS Central Services. The supplies are then distributed discretely at the start of the school year.
What are the options if a parent cannot pay fees?
If circumstances exist where you’re unable to pay student fees, you can apply to have certain fees waived (see Waiver of Fees). If it's determined fees aren't eligible to be waived, based on the submitted application, payment options may be made with the school’s administration.
What if school fees remain unpaid?
If fees are not paid, they will be forwarded to a collection agency (see Administrative Procedure 505: School and Administrative Fees).
Why does EIPS not use tax-generated revenue, instead of charging fees?
School jurisdictions receive funding from Alberta Education. The funding is separate from the local taxes, which are assessed and collected by local municipalities. The provincial government sets provincial education tax rates, and funds collected are allocated to school jurisdictions based on the provincial funding framework. There is no direct correlation between the taxes collected locally for schools and the provincial funding framework.
(Last updated: May 2022)