The following was sent to all CBE employees from Chief Superintendent David Stevenson on Nov. 24, 2016.
With the current economic uncertainty some families are telling us they are having difficulty affording the fees we charge. These include fees for services such as transportation and noon supervision as well as instructional supplies and materials.
Public education is about values and choices. After extensive engagement with our communities, the decision was made to keep dollars in the classroom instead of subsidizing fees. This decision allows us to continue to provide a quality public education experience for all learners. Fees are charged only to cover the costs for the services or materials we provide.
Our own statistics reflect what is happening in the community. In 2012-13, waivers made up 8.7 per cent of total fee revenue. In 2014-15, waivers made up 10.4 per cent of fee revenue. For this school year, we are noticing that the waiver rate continues to increase but is beginning to slow.
We provide financial supports and services to assist families in need. Our waivers system ensures that no child is denied the right to public education. We are proud that our waiver process is in place to help all families, no matter how large or small, who need financial support to assist with school fees.
We offer both an income-based waiver and a principal-approved waiver, which means that any family facing economic hardship can receive help, whether or not they meet the provincial low-income threshold.
Our principals approve waivers for families on a case-by-case basis. In addition we offer flexible payment options for all of our fees so that payments can be spread out over time.
I ask each of you, whether you work in a school or service unit, to continue to communicate our waiver process and flexible payment options available to families.
Thank you, as always, for the important work you do every day to support the success of our students.
Chief Superintendent of Schools