Standards and school boards’ responsibilities concerning financial contributions that may be required

The responsibilities assigned to the governing board concerning financial contributions that may be required are in keeping with the principle of subsidiarity. The governing board of each school or centre is the decision-making body closest to students and parents. It adopts the educational institution’s annual budget. It is therefore in the best position to assess proposals submitted by the principal, ensure that any fees proposed are reasonable, and determine the best use of the institution’s budget allocations.

The responsibilities and decisions of the governing board are based on the school board’s policy on financial contributions that may be required under section 212.1 of the Education Act and by the standards established by the Minister.

Standards for financial contributions that may be required

Standards for financial contributions that may be required are set out in the Regulation respecting free instructional material and certain financial contributions that may be required.

They include the following:

  1. The governing board must implement measures to facilitate access by each student to all services, activities or materials for which financial contribution is approved. The governing board must also inform the school board of all financial contributions it approves. 
  2. Every financial contribution required for a service, activity or material to which the right of free use does not apply must be the subject of a clear and detailed invoice. Where a voluntary contribution or a donation is requested, no amount related to it may be included in the total indicated on the invoice.
  3. No financial contribution may be required for a service, activity or material that is subject to financing provided for in the budgetary rules determined by the Minister, such as paper tissues and other items required to be supplied for health or hygiene reasons. Such financing must be deducted from the amount of the financial contribution required where it covers part of the expenses incurred.
  4. No supplier or specific brand may be imposed with reference to material for a student’s personal use, other than activity or exercise books.

Main responsibilities concerning financial contributions

Responsibilities of the governing board 

According to the Education Act, the governing board is responsible for approving any financial contribution for services provided within the scope of a special school project and any school activities prescribed by regulation, for materials to which the right to free materials does not apply and for lunchtime supervision (s. 75.0.1).

Before approving any contribution proposed by the principal, the governing board must take into account the other contributions proposed as well as the ones it has already approved. Proposals concerning required contributions must be justified in terms of the nature and amount of the fee required.

A required contribution may not exceed the actual cost of the good or service in question. The actual cost includes taxes and excludes tax rebates.

The principal’s proposals concerning the contributions required for educational services or materials for which fees are allowed are developed with the participation of teachers.

Materials 

Based on the proposal of the principal of the school or vocational training centre, the governing board establishes the principles for determining the cost of the documents in which students write, draw or cut out. Those principles are taken into account when the choice of textbooks and instructional materials must be approved (Education Act, ss. 77.1 and 110.3.2). 

The governing board also approves, at the principal’s proposal, a list of materials for personal use. This list is developed with the participation of teachers.

The principles are established and the list is approved, taking into consideration:

  • The school board’s policy on the financial contributions that may be made by parents
  • The other financial contributions that may be claimed for childcare services provided at school, student transportation at noon and lunchtime supervision

Responsibilities of the school board

After consulting with the parents’ committee, the school board adopts a policy on the financial contributions that may be made.

This policy must respect the powers of the governing board and promote accessibility to the educational services provided for in the Education Act and prescribed by the Basic school regulations established by the government.

The school board sees to it that its schools and vocational training centres comply with the conditions applicable to required financial contributions and that the schools and centres do not, under any circumstances, require payment of fees contrary to law, including administrative fees (Education Act, s. 212.2).

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