Parents at Royal Vale school protest extracurricular costs

Some parents at the Royal Vale school are refusing to fork over the money for after-school programs before they find out how their cash is being spent.

Volunteer parent committee faces audit over spending of after-school program fees

Josh Pfaus says he's learned a lot from the guitar lessons he takes after school at Royal Vale. (CBC)

Some parents are upset over the growing costs of after-school programs at Royal Vale elementary, and they're refusing to pay until they find out exactly how their money is being spent.

For the past few years, parents have paid about $975 for an enriched extracurricular program at Royal Vale elementary in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

Parents recently found out that cost would go up by $270 for the next school year.

Now some of them are refusing to pay, until they have a clear picture of where their $1,245 is going to end up.

"When parents ... were made aware of this, there was no explanation given," says Jim Pfaus, chair the Royal Vale elementary governing board

"Parents are their stakeholders ... they should have been given an explanation."

Extra fees will help cover audit expenses

Pfaus says he knows exactly why the fees are going up, even if the reasons remain unclear for some parents.

Jim Pfaus, chair of the Royal Vale elementary governing board, has told the volunteer committee that collects extracurricular activity fees to get its finances in order. (CBC)

He says he noticed other schools in the city run similar programs for half the cost, so as the board chair, he asked for an audit of the parent volunteer committee that collects the fees — the  Royal Vale Home and School Association.

He said it's important to find out how much the programs actually cost. 

"Parent volunteers are the essence of the school, but they're not all accountants," Pfaus says. 

His governing board also asked the association to hire a full-time operating manager, to help get its finances in order. 

Pfaus says the program fee increase will go towards that new salary, as well as the costs of the audit.

He says the Home and School Association should have explained that to parents, instead of leaving them in the dark. 

Extracurriculars may get axed over muddled finances

Pfaus' son, Josh, is in the fifth grade at the public school.

Pfaus says the extracurricular programming is a great asset for Josh, who takes guitar lessons on Wednesdays, karate on Mondays and drama on Fridays.

But he says the board may have to consider chopping extracurriculars if the Home and School Association doesn't get its books in order.

No one from Royal Vale's Home and School Association was immediately available for comment.