Lethbridge: The Lethbridge Public school Board has a long held belief that school fees
should be kept to a minimum and they're acting on that.
Beginning with the school year that begins in September, 2011, elementary
school parents won't have to pay the $41 yearly fee for each student in grades
one through five or the lunch hour supervision fee.
A reduction in the transportation budget next year, meant the District could no longer support the hiring of lunch hour supervisors. Lunch hour supervision will now fall to teachers. Also, Superintendent Barry
Litun indicated the lost fees are expected to be offset by increased enrollment.
The District would need one additional child to enroll in each city public
elementary school, to recoup the lost fees.
The following is a news release sent to media by the Lethbridge Public
School Board, regarding the eliminated fees:
At its March 15, 2011 meeting the Lethbridge School District Board of
Trustees voted to eliminate District fees for students in Grades 1-5 effective
the 2011/12 school year. The Board also voted, effective the 2011/12 school
year, to eliminate fees for students who are not bussed to school and who stay
at school during lunch time. These fees are currently used to hire lunch hour
supervisors at elementary schools.
Board Chair Gary Bartlett stated that
a priority of the Board for 2011/12 is to ensure that Lethbridge School District
is the first choice for parents of resident students. "We heard at our town hall
meeting that an obstacle for some families, and the reason that they were
choosing to have their children educated elsewhere, are the fees they face,"
The District, which eliminated the District fee for
Kindergarten a number of years ago, currently has an annual fee of $41 per
elementary aged student. The lunch supervision fees range from $20 - $30 per
month for each student. A family that pays lunch supervision fees for two
elementary aged children will realize savings of approximately $500 or more.
Bartlett indicated that a long standing belief of the Board is that
District and school levied fees be kept as low as possible. "Unfortunately it is
not financially viable to eliminate the District fee or course fees for middle
and high schools at this time, but the Board feels this is a step forward in
supporting our families and listening to our stakeholders," said Bartlett. "We
have kept fees at current levels for a number of years, and schools must have
Board approval if they wish to increase fees."
Superintendent Barry Litun
indicated that the very challenging budget the District faces in 2011/12 was, in
part, the impetus for the lunch hour fees decision. "In the past the District
has been able to support elementary schools in hiring lunch supervisors for
students who are bussed to school, but reductions in the budget for next year
will make that impossible to continue. We have also heard that in many instances
a parent of a student, who is not eligible for bussing, cannot be at home at
lunch and that it is impractical for a young student to walk up to 2.4
kilometres home for lunch," said Litun.
Litun also said, "This was a very