Amend Alberta's Bill 1, which economically disadvantages thousands of families & students
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This Year, the Government of Alberta has implemented Bill 1: An Act to Reduce School Fees. According to the government, the Bill:
- “[makes] life better and more affordable for Alberta families.
- [attempts to give all students] access to a quality education in an Alberta school, regardless of their individual circumstances or their ability to pay school fees.
- ensures Alberta families benefit from these reductions for the 2017/18 school year.”
However, the unjust, discriminatory Bill 1: An Act to Reduce School Fees has contradicted its mandate.
- Bill 1: An Act to Reduce School Fees does not “make life better” for Alberta families since it denies financial transportation support and increases transportation fees for thousands of families who have children enrolled in non-designated schools: “Busing fees still apply [to families who] choose to enroll their child in a school other than their designated school. This includes students attending ‘schools of choice,’ such as alternative programs (i.e., sports academies, immersion programs)."
- Bill 1: An Act to Reduce School Fees discriminates against thousands of families who choose to enroll their children in a non-designated school in order to enhance their children’s learning. Families enrich their children’s learning by enrolling them in alternative programs, such as French and other language Immersion, AP, IB, Music, Self-Directed, Hockey Skills and other programs, which are usually not offered at their designated school. In effect, Bill 1 disadvantages thousands of families attempting to enrich their children’s education and help their children receive a more comprehensive, “quality education,” since families of students who attend non-designated schools now must pay more than the families of students who attend designated schools.
- Bill 1: An Act to Reduce School Fees, which is designed to decrease school fees, has increased transportation fees for thousands of families by 63% from last year. For instance, families of students who attend alternative programs in the Calgary Catholic School District (CSSD) no longer receive a rebate of $202.25.
- Bill 1: An Act to Reduce School Fees forces families who choose to enroll their children in non-designated schools to pay over 450 % more in transportation fees than families of students who attend designated schools. The government of Alberta only gives rebates of $549 to families of students who attend their designated schools. It is important to note that a lot of students in urban areas use the same public transportation system to get to school, yet only students who go to designated schools receive a rebate. Furthermore, the apparent discrimination economically discourages students from taking alternative programs at non-designated schools, as they have to pay more to get to school than if they were to attend their designated school.
We, the students and families of Alberta, believe that it is unjust for the Government of Alberta to discriminate against students who choose to become better learners through these specialized programs. Students and their families should be free from economic discrimination imposed by the Government of Alberta when choosing to enhance their learning.
Therefore, we urge fellow citizens to sign this petition calling on the Government of Alberta to amend the discriminative Bill 1 to include transportation rebates for students who attend alternative programs at non-designated schools for the 2017/2018 year and beyond.
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