Superintendent Kevin Godden with the Abbotsford School District says he believes the non-mandatory cost of school supplies do not put some students in potentially uncomfortable situations by declaring they are unable to afford those supplies. (Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News)

Abby Schools

No student left behind by prohibitive fees, Abbotsford officials say

Approved 2019/20 fees include non-mandatory cost of school supplies

The Abbotsford School District says no student will be left behind by what could be prohibitive costs approved by the school board for the 2019/20 school year.

Among the fees approved by the school board, which were largely unmoved from last year, are up to $30 for middle and secondary school “student activity fees,” up to $16 for parking permits and up to $60 for graduation convocation ceremonies.

Also included on the list is an undefined cost for “personal supplies in accordance with the supply list approved by the district.”

RELATED: OPINION: The school supply racket shames parents, wastes money and is likely illegal

That item has drawn some controversy in the past, with a 2006 B.C. Supreme Court ruling finding that school districts cannot charge for items necessary to graduate, such as paper and pencils or field trips.

However, school districts have often worked around the ruling by putting out a list of required supplies for each class, while acknowledging that if a student’s family cannot afford the supplies, the school must provide them.

Superintendent Kevin Godden said he feels the policy avoids putting children in uncomfortable situations in which they must state that they cannot afford supplies.

“If a child shows up and they make a declaration that we cannot, or I cannot, afford it, it is not an issue. We carry on,” Godden said.

“That declaration comes with some trust and respect and dignity that we try to afford parents, and we do our best to try to accommodate that.”

RELATED: School bus fees eliminated for some Abbotsford students

School board chair Stan Petersen added that the declaration is done discreetly and that district staff are “well-trained and understanding in this process.”

The board also approved the annual fees for sports academies in the district, which range anywhere from $500 for the Eugene Reimer Middle School Soccer Academy to $15,000 for the U18 team in the Yale Hockey Academy.

All four Yale Hockey Academy teams cost $14,000 and higher, while most soccer academies are at $500 to $750. Baseball, softball and golf academies all cost in the mid $2,000 range, except the Yale Baseball Elite Academy at $8,500.

Secretary-treasurer Ray Velestuk said the rates are “break-even fees,” due to Ministry of Education regulations that bar school districts from profiting off of academies.

The costs largely come from high-level tournaments, ice time and travel, Petersen said. He said there are no scholarships for the programs, but added that he didn’t believe a student would be turned away from an academy if they could not afford the fees.

“I don’t think we’ve turned kids away from any our programs,” he said, adding that a youth who cannot afford the program will not, then, incur debt for the family.

“You’d be surprised how many students are supported in any number of ways because they can’t afford it, and not just in academies.”

Find more of our coverage on the Abbotsford School District here.

Report an error or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Abbotsford News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Abby Schools

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: #FreeThemAll group protests for prisoner rights in Abbotsford

About 20 participate in car demonstration outside of Matsqui Institution on Sunday

Abbotsford Christian’s Meinen named 2A all-star

Zach Meinen named to provincial all-star squad for 2019-20

Abbotsford football star Samwel Uko dies at age 20

Panthers star running back dies on May 21, cause of death not yet known

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

VIDEO: Suspected drunk driver caught on dashcam in Abbotsford

Police say they located vehicle, nearby intoxicated man, but couldn’t tie him to the driver’s seat

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

‘Not a joke’: Promoter wants to rocket-launch man the length of White Rock pier

Brooke Colby says he’s building an eight-foot rocket in his backyard

RCMP confirm man dead in Chilliwack shooting incident

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

Boy, 2, left with ‘soft tissue injuries’ after being hit by car in Squamish intersection

Boy was release from hospital, police continue to investigate

Most Read