At Thursday's Rocky View Schools Board of Trustees meeting, the upcoming fees for the 12/13 school years for instructional resources, and transportation were discussed.

It was recommended to the board that the Resource Fees, formerly known as Instructional Supplies or Material Fees, be changed to offset the cost of course textbooks, required workbooks or novels, agendas, computer supplies, and other required supplied that pertain to mandatory instruction and school established optional fees.

When questions arose around the need for the fees, Associate Superintendent of Business and Operations Darrell Couture pointed out that the impact of not having the fees at all is about $2M.

"I find it frustrating that there's an idea that we could go without fees," explained Bev LaPeare, Ward 2 Trustee. "There'd be a dent into instructional funds."

"We have to make sure that those fees that we're asking for, the school will operate without them," according to trustee Sylvia Eggerer. "This is to cover the over and above."

The board agreed that while there's a transition into 21st Century Learning, a main focus of the group, there are costs associated with that way of learning.

Aprroved for the 12/13 school year, the new fees won't change for parents of Kindergarten students. Their fees remain at $25. Grades 1-4 will see the biggest increase in fees from $73 to $95 dollars. Grades 5-8 also will bump up to $95 from $88, and Grades 9-12 will go from $128 to $135.

"When you invest in the education, and in the individual," exclaimed Ward 3 Trustee Don Thomas, "it's the best investment you can make."

Next on the agenda was the fee structure for Transportation, which hadn't changed since the 08/09 school year, and will continue to stay the same.

Right now, Rocky View Schools relies on 220 routes to get their students from their homes into their schools. They've also tried to keep bus trips to an hour maximum.

"Five years, no change", expressed Dr. Bruce Pettigrew, Board Chair, and Ward 6 Trustee. "In spite of a raise in costs, I think that's very commendable."

"There's something to be said about consistency to our parents," added Helen Clease, Ward 4 Trustee.

There was some question as to the surplus, and if the fees are too high. Couture explained that the surplus is a nice safety net to have.

"You can't adjust service," according to Couture. "You're forced to run with your decision for the entire year. It's nice to have a reserve to cover off some of the risk involved. Maybe we could look at lowering the fees, but is an appropriate level?"

Trustee Colleen Munro pointed out that instead of cutting fees, that the board could look into increasing service. It was also pointed out that there will be programs in place for parents who are in financial hardship to help with fee payment.

In the end, the collective was happy with what they saw with the numbers, and the lack of need for change, and approved the fees as they were, unanimously.