New Brunswick

Schools should ease financial burden on parents

A New Brunswick dad says schools should find ways to ease the financial pressures faced by parents when their children return to class every September.

Moncton father says schools should spread out fees throughout the year

A Moncton father says back-to-school expenses are starting to get excessive and he’s urging schools to find a way to minimize the financial pressure on families.

Students returned to school this week and many families are being forced to pay hundreds of dollars on different supplies and school-related costs.

T.C. Jenicek said he spent at least $300 on different school supplies, clothes, shoes and activities for his son, who is in Grade 10.

Jenicek said he expected those annual costs, but he was suprised when his son's school came looking for another $70 for a school fee.

Jenicek said he felt the extra school fee was too much, especially in the first week of September.

The father said he can cover extra costs, such as school trips and fundraisers, but it's a lot all at once.

"I don't mind paying for things as they come up, not at the start of the school year when everything, when parents are overwhelmed with pre-school stuff," Jenicek said.

Opting out not a realistic option, dad says

Jenicek was told fees can be waived if parents cannot afford them, but he said they should not be put in that position.

He also said some families might be embarrassed to even ask the school for permission to opt out of paying those fees.

"It's true, it is not mandatory. But, you know. I have a teenager in school here and you know how teens are, it's all about what other kids think of them and we've all been there, right?" he said.

"Don't put my son in that position where he's the one being asked why aren't your parents paying for this?"

But he would like to see fees spread out throughout the school year so parents aren't dinged all at once.

Gregg Ingersoll, the superintendant of the Anglophone East School District, said he agrees that September can be a tough month financially for parents.

The superintendent said Jenicek’s idea of spreading out payments for school fees can be arranged. Ingersoll said arranging a monthly payment should be as easy as contacting the school.

"It's more for efficiency I think in many cases where they just collect it once at the beginning of the school year, you know it's just as much trouble then but at least you only do it once," he said.