EDITORIAL: School fees: What’s next, cash to use the water fountain?

CBC’s Marketplace ran a contest recently to find "Canada’s dumbest charge."

The runners-up were ATM fees, paper bill and statement fees, airline seat selection fees and Ticketmaster fees. The winner (or loser, depending on your perspective) was Bell’s touch-tone fees, by 41.83 per cent.

Some 30,055 people voted. One wonders how fee-greedy Delta School District would have fared, had it been in this lineup.

School districts, as parents know all too well, are nickel-and-diming them with dubious student fees despite B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Johnston finding they violate Section 82 of the School Act (Young v. British Columbia Minister of education, 2006, BCSC 1415).

Here’s a catalogue of some of the fees levied by Delta’s school district: Student fee $20, agenda $8, visual arts $15, BC Science workbook $9, electronics Tech ed $32, and on it goes.

And then there’s – get this – the emergency prep fee ($2). That’s right, a $2 emergency prep fee. Apparently provincial taxes don’t cover students’ safety.

What’s next, Delta School District, a hallway drinking-fountain fee?

Gymnasium floor wax levy? Hey, here’s one: why not retrofit students’ lockers so that the children will have to insert a quarter every time they go to retrieve their books for their next class?

Sure, we jest. But only a bit. Really, it’s sad how already overtaxed parents are being systemically parted from their hard-earned money by such things as ridiculous $2 emergency preparedness fees, not to mention all the other grabs.

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