The purpose of this procedure is to clarify when, and for what purpose, fees and deposits may be charged, and to ensure that fees and deposits do not become a barrier to participation in activities or programs because of financial hardship.
Principals/Vice-Principals will ensure that the assigning and collection of fees and deposits conform with the following procedures:
Refers to instructional courses and/or programs authorized by the Ministry of Education and Child Care, Locally Developed or Board Authorized leading towards graduation as set out in the ‘School Act’.
Refers to any school activity that is not included in the curricular offerings leading towards graduation (e.g. school events, clubs, sports clubs, student leadership activities).
3. Allowable Fees, and Field Trips
Fees may be charged for school special events, clubs, sports and other extra-curricular items and/or activities not regulated in the ‘School Act’.
3.1 Graduation Fees: The basic cost for graduation will be an amount to cover the cost of the convocation ceremony (e.g. gown and stole rental, keeper cap and tassel, folder, diploma and tickets to convocation/venue, tea/reception).
3.2 Parking Permits: Schools have the option of issuing parking permits to students to park their vehicles on school district property. The fee shall be for the right to park as well as for administrative expenses.
3.3 Student Activity Fee for Middle and Secondary Schools: The student activity fee covers costs such as student agendas, guest speakers, student identity cards, school events, student recognition, student leadership, locks and locker rentals.
Schools shall not charge for a student agenda if the agenda is to be used as a learning resource and/or for assessment purposes.
3.4 Field Trips:
• 188.8.131.52 Mandatory
A field trip is deemed ‘mandatory’ when students are required to participate in order to meet specific course learning outcomes.
If a classroom field trip is deemed mandatory, there must be no charge to the student.
• 184.108.40.206 Optional
A field trip is deemed ‘optional’ when specific learning standards can be attained through either a field trip or an alternate learning opportunity.
A fee may be charged for an optional field trip to cover admission and transportation costs.
Students who do not participate in an optional field trip will be provided with an alternate learning opportunity based on specific learning outcomes addressed in the field trip.
- 3.4.2 Extra-curricular Field Trips:
Extra-curricular field trips are not evaluated as a formal part of an educational program and a fee may be charged.
3.5 Deposits and Rentals
The school may require students (including home schooled students) to pay a refundable deposit for “educational resource materials”. Criteria used to determine the amount of the deposit should be specified at the time the deposit is required. Refunds will be adjusted for damages or for servicing the item upon return.
3.6 Textbooks and Workbooks: Refundable deposits may be requested for textbooks and workbooks. School-made workbooks cannot be charged to students.
3.7 Musical Instruments: Schools may request that parent(s)/guardian(s) provide a musical instrument. Schools may charge a deposit for an instrument loaned to a student by the school.
3.8 Graphing Calculators: Students may be given the options of buying their own, borrowing a school-provided graphing calculator, or using school-provided calculators during class time. Schools must make available as many graphing calculators as needed by students who do not wish to buy their own. Schools may collect a refundable deposit on loaned graphing calculators.
3.9 Technological Equipment: Deposits may be collected for the use of cameras, computers or other school equipment loaned to students by the school for use to complete coursework.
3.10 Laptop Computers – (One-to-One Program): Students/Parents may be given the options of purchasing their own laptop computer, leasing or leasing to own a laptop computer as per the District Lease Plan, or borrowing a laptop from the school. Schools may collect a refundable deposit on loaned laptop computers.
3.11 Personal Supplies and Equipment:
All school supply lists must be approved by the principal prior to being provided to parents. Involvement in school-authorized School Supply Purchase Programs (with either a commercial provider or by the school) must be completely optional and at the sole discretion of the parent/guardian.
Schools that opt to use a School Supply Purchase Program must do so on a strict cost recovery basis rounded to the closest $0.05. This includes student planners if they are not used for instructional purposes. Parents must not be charged for student planners if they are used for instructional purposes.
Schools may not charge cooking fees (e.g. Kindergarten cooking programs) or fees for art materials for specialized art projects occurring during instructional time (e.g. Mother’s Day art gifts).
Schools may charge for, or request that parent(s)/guardian(s) provide, the following personal supplies for students. The following list is not prescriptive; schools may adapt this list to their needs but may not add to it without permission of the Superintendent (or designate).
- 3.11.1 Art Supplies: felts, glue, paint shirt, pencil crayons, scissors, scrapbooks, sketch books, stencils for numbers and letters, wax crayons
- 3.11.2 Math Supplies: calculator (non-graphing), graphing paper, protractor and compass set
- 3.11.3 Music Supplies: band instrument, recorder, reeds
- 3.11.4 PE Supplies: gym bag (cloth with drawstring), runners (indoor, non-marking), shorts, socks, t-shirt
- 3.11.5 School Uniforms/Dress Coordinates: jackets, vests, ties, pants, shorts, skirts, shirts, blouses
- 3.11.6 Writing Supplies: backboards, binders, correction tape/whiteout, divider tabs, duo-tangs, dry-erase markers, erasers, exercise books, highlighters, index cards, Key Tab notebook, loose-leaf paper, markers, pencils, crayons, pencil box/case, pencil sharpener, pens, portfolio/report covers, post-it notes, reinforcements, and rulers
- 3.11.7 Reference Resources: computer data storage device, English and other language dictionaries, and thesaurus
- 3.11.8 Career / Trades Programs: protective eye wear, protective head gear, safety boots, tools for apprenticeship programs (CTC, ACE-IT, SSA)
- 3.11.9 Student Agendas: A fee may not be charged if the agenda is used for assessment purposes. A fee may be charged if the agenda is used for any other purpose.
- 3.11.10 Computer Supplies: Headphones, storage medium
3.12 Materials of Superior Quality: While a school may not charge ‘blanket’ course fees, a student may be required to pay for materials of superior quality (optional materials) used in the preparation of a project to meet a course requirement.
3.13 Applied Skills (Tech Ed., Business Ed., Home Ec.) and Fine Arts (Art, Music, Drama, Dance): A school must provide the basic ingredients/materials for class projects. Should a student choose to, he/she may use ‘optional’ materials to upgrade the project. For example, a student may use a finer grade of wood, or acrylic versus oil based paint.
3.14 Specialty Academies: Schools may charge a fee for students to participate in a Board approved academy. The Board will establish fees on an annual basis in consultation with the School Planning Council.
3.15 Summer School: Fees will be in accordance with the School Act and Ministry of Education and Child Care guidelines. Students of school age will not be charged course fees. A refundable deposit may be charged at the time of registration. Students who complete summer school will be issued a refund on the deposit.
3.16 Night School-Continuing Education: Fees may not be charged for courses leading to graduation for students of school age. Graduated adults will be charged a course fee except for courses in Language Arts 11/12, Mathematics 11/12 and Sciences 11/12.
3.17 Distributed Learning (Virtual School): Fees may not be charged for courses leading to graduation for students of school age. Graduated adults will be charged a course fee except for courses in Language Arts 11/12, Mathematics 11/12 and Sciences 11/12.
4. Application of Procedures
4.1 Annually, the Superintendent will establish a process for setting fees and deposits charged. This is to ensure consistency across the district.
4.2 The Principal in consultation with the School Planning Council and in accordance with district policy will recommend a schedule of school fees and deposits to the Superintendent.
4.3 The Superintendent will make a recommendation to the Board for approval.
4.4 The Board will approve school fee and deposit schedules prior to the next school year so that the information is available for publication by schools.
4.5 The Principal will ensure that school fee and deposit schedules are published and/or made available to students and parent(s)/guardian(s) prior to students selecting courses.
4.6 On an annual basis, each school will be required to submit a summary of fees collected and the related expenses. The report will be in a format defined by the Finance Department and include a detailed listing of the expenditures. This report would be completed for the following fees:
i) Student school supplies
ii) Student activity fees
iii) Student planners
iv) Other fees as may be identified by the Superintendent
Where a surplus occurs, the school would be expected to provide an explanation and/or a plan for its dispersal (including possible reimbursements).
5. Financial Hardship
Staff must ensure that no student is denied an opportunity to participate in educational programs or educational curricular activities based on financial hardship.
6. The option for waiving school fees for school programs, optional curricular field trips and other activities must be made known to parents. The principal must ensure the process for waiving a fee is fair and confidential.
(Last Revised: June 2016)