CBE Board Meeting on Fees

On April 17, 2012, the CBE Board of Trustees received a report on the new CBE fees from the administration. The following is a timeline of the discussion. Please note, that the timing is from the ARTICS recording, and does not correspond exactly with the CBE recording, but it is fairly close.

12:45 Introduction to the fees report by Chief Superintendent Naomi Johnson.

30:50 Question from Trustee Ferguson regarding the status of the metro transportation funding review.

32:24 Question from Trustee Bowen-Eyre regarding how many other Alberta school boards are using a user-fee vs. standardized model for transportation fees.

34:44 Question from Trustee Bazinet regarding page 4-15 that states that “the net impact of all changes for parents as a whole is zero by 2014 and better in the meantime” but when the actual fee totals are calculated from the charts on pages 4-17 and 4-18, there is a total net increase in fees of $1.6 million.

42:25 Question from Trustee Taylor regarding how it looks like waivers are being funded through the fees of parents.

45:35 Question from Trustee Ferguson about standards or regulations that need to be met around special needs transportation.

46:40 Question from Trustee Bowen-Eyre about the service levels provided for noon-hour supervision.

49:05 Question from Trustee King regarding concerns that schools that do not have bussed students will therefore receive less in noon supervision fees and will have a decrease in service.

49:55 Question from Trustee Bazinet asking how the net impact to parents and the system can both be zero when the system now has to pay $1.2 million for the waivers.

51:53 Question from Trustee Ferguson on possible enrolment impacts in alternative programs.

53:00 Question from Trustee Bowen-Eyre on communicating the waivers process to parents.

55:12 Question from Trustee Taylor about how many students/families currently apply for waivers. As of March 9, 2012 7329 students, from 3791 families, were approved for instructional supplies waivers. Of those, 3983 students received transportation waivers.

56:11 Question from Trustee Taylor about the applicability of the Charter as it relates to learning French.

58:38 Question from Trustee Ferguson about transportation service levels and what the CBE has done to reduce transportation costs.

1:02:35 Question from Trustee Bazinet around why administration decided that only attending an alternative program was considered a personal choice.

1:09:08 Correction from Chief Johnson on the 2010-11 transportation expenses presented during the introduction.

1:11:20 Question from Trustee Taylor about how the CBE created the transportation breakdown by program due to the complexity of busing, with different programs and schools sharing buses, but were not able to create an average cost per student for each program.

1:19:10 Question from Trustee Bazinet about cases where the student chooses an alternative program, but it is offered in the same school as their designated regular program, or where the student’s community school only offers an alternative program but they live outside the walk zone, and who determines the fee in these cases.

1:24:40 Question from Trustee Bowen-Eyre about students in new communities who choose to be bused to a closer alternative program rather than the designated regular program which is farther away.

1:27:00 Question from Trustee Taylor about whether the CBE is providing actual transportation costs to parents at the school level.

1:29:00 Question from Trustee Ferguson about the future consultation process around fees.

1:31:20 Question from Trustee King about families who do not qualify for waivers, but where fees still cause hardship.

1:34:00 Question from Trustee Ferguson asking about a possible error on page 4-17 regarding footnote 13.

1:34:52 Question from Trustee Taylor about the transportation regulations in the School Act that says the system cannot charge more than the average cost, and how the new fees are in alignment with CBE policies.

1:39:40 Question from Trustee King about employee parking costs.

1:41:03 Question from Trustee Ferguson about why the CBE noon hour supervision fees are so much higher than other boards.

1:42:13 Question from Trustee Taylor about when the full results of the parent engagement survey will be made public.

1:43:25 Question from Trustee Taylor about why schools have been told to maintain their status quo enrolment projections for their budgets despite the possible enrolment impact of increased fees.

1:46:10 Questions from Trustee Taylor about fee payment default rates, how much is recovered through collections, how the CBE budget accounts for defaults and what the CBE assumptions are for next year’s defaults due to higher fees.

1:53:30 Question from Trustee King about accessibility to alternative programs due to increased fees.

1:55:05 Question from Trustee Bazinet about how principals are supposed to decide on exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

1:58:00 Question from Trustee Ferguson about whether noon hour supervision is considered a tax-deductible child care expense.

1:58:39 Question from Trustee Taylor about how much extra Federal funding French immersion programs receive and how that extra funding is used.

2:00:15 Debate about receiving the fees report for information, including clarification on the role of the board in setting fees. Chair Cochrane clarifies that the motion is not an endorsement or approval of the report. Motion passes unanimously.

2:22:10 Public comment by Pam Halla regarding the detrimental effects of the increase in fees to the parents of Mayland Heights.