The delayed release of the provincial budget has forced the school board to make assumptions as they prepare next year’s budget. In a recent conference call, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange told Alberta school board representatives that all grants are currently being reviewed. This includes the School Fee Reduction Grant, which provides $400,000 per year to Pembina Hills. It was introduced in 2017 when the province passed legislation to eliminate student instructional fees being charged to families.
While fees for specific instructional materials will not be permitted, such as textbooks and paper, fees for optional courses, extra curricular and unique supplies will be allowed. Board Chair Jennifer Tuininga says, “Until the school board receives the regulations and more direction from the province we’re uncertain as to the impact for families and schools in Pembina Hills regarding fees.”
If the School Fee Reduction Grant is eliminated, the school board may need to consider reinstating some form of student fees. Prior to 2017, the school board charged student instructional fees of:
- $60 for Kindergarten students
- $70 for Elementary students
- $110-$140 for Junior/Senior High students (depending on the school)
- $300 family rate was also available
“We want to give our families a heads up on this possible change, but we’ll wait and see the government’s direction,” said Tuininga.