September 17, 2015

Dear Division 16,

Great work on your reflections homework on Monday! I’m super excited to continue to hear from you on today’s assignment.

Today’s reflection is about school fees.

In Vancouver, families of elementary school students are asked to contribute $25 towards school supplies, while in other districts, students are given a list of materials for families to purchase in the summer.
This article talks about the right of all Canadians to a free public education system.  Please read the article below.

If you are interested in learning more about school fees across Canada, there is an interesting but not very scientific study published here:

In full sentences, please answer ONE or both of the following questions

  1. Do you agree with John Young that families should not pay school fees? Why or why not?
  2. If fundraising and fees were not an option, what could school districts to do ensure that student programming was supported?

I look forward to your responses,



  1. Crazychicken lover

    I agree with John young because not all parents can pay for school fees. Like i know a friend who couldnt pay and he had to do a bunch of complicated stuff. I think that some people should stop thinking about money when they’re are people who cant even afford school in some places . I disagree 100 % That people should pay for school fees. EVEN If they have the money.

    • dickensdiv16

      Crazychicken lover, you have done a nice job with your response. I like how you used an example from your personal experience to support your opinion and that you also raised a point of view that reflects the broader world. You’re right to state that school is not free or even available around the world in the way we have it here. Great work!

  2. smeagaleater10

    #1 I agree with John Young because people with no money can be forced to pay and it might cause them to take money away from necessities .As result, plenty of bad things can happen such as: hungry kids, no clothes ,etc… nobody wants that to happen. School fees can also be valuable ,they can help make activities more fun or interesting. In conclusion, if you can afford to pay the school fees, pay it. And if you can’t ,don’t.

    • dickensdiv16

      Smeagaleater, I really appreciate that you used the example of clothing and food to illustrate your point that for some low income people, school fees represent a very difficult choice. Do you think that the choice to pay or not should be made by the families?

  3. baconguy

    I think that if people already have to pay to go to school, they shouldn’t have to pay for the supplies too. Things like pencils and erasers should be supplied by the school. I think it’s good that people who don’t have the money to pay for the school fees don’t have to pay for the supplies, but it is unfair for the people who don’t use the supplies to have to pay for them.

    • dickensdiv16

      Baconguy, can you say more about who pays to go to school and also for supplies? Your last sentence seems to support a program where students would pay for what they use – I’d like to hear more about that too. Thank you for using examples in your response so that your reader is clear which supplies you were referring to!

  4. Amythest

    1. I don’t agree with John Young because I think that if you can afford to pay school fees than you should. If you can afford it I think that you should pay it because it is for all the supplies so you can do a lot of fun things. It is important but if you can’t afford it than you shouldn’t have to.

    • dickensdiv16

      Amythest, you’re right that many fees go towards more interesting and exciting programming than what schools could afford without charging fees (field trips, performances etc). I wonder what would be a fair way to decide who pays and who doesn’t? Any ideas?

  5. THEMANGO404

    I agree with the statement about not having to pay school fees because you might not have a lot of money and you probably want to pay to get more important needs like food and electricity. also if you did want to get school supplies that are a bit nicer you could probably get a binders, pencils and pencil crayons, water color, paint and a pencil case. You could probably get that stuff for under 25$.

    • dickensdiv16

      I think all families have to make choices, sometimes really difficult ones around finances. Are you making the point with your last sentence that supplies can be found for cheaper than $25? I think in some cases, you’re right, that the day-to-day supplies that students use can be bought for less than $25 per year, and I wonder how far that money would go if you factored in additional art supplies and equipment. I checked online and the last number I could find for government spending was 11,832 per student per year. Interesting!

  6. den10@sea43

    #1 i agree and disagree with john. I think that school fees should be around $10 because you shouldn’t pay for a public school
    but I think that since you can do every thing with out paying so if you can’t pay the fees it does not matter because you get to do any way. Also if you don’t pay it then who does! the school when they already pay for tables and the building and many more.

    • dickensdiv16

      den10@sea43 you’ve hit on one of the most important parts of the law – that even if students don’t pay, they still can’t be denied the same opportunities. Can you say more about how you decided on $10 as a fair amount for families to pay?

  7. Arctic owl

    I do not agree with john.because then the teachers would have to pay 25 dollars for all of us. then the teachers would not make much money at all . really they would be losing money from all the school supplies and field trips . over all i think we should pay school fees

    • dickensdiv16

      Thanks for considering the teachers, Arctic owl! Here’s how I understand the funding. The government gives money to districts based on how many students they have. Then the district gives that money to schools. Same as in families, schools have to make decisions about how to spend money based on what they think is the most important. I wonder, do you think that fees for field trips should be treated the same as fees for supplies?

  8. Crazymemeslol123

    #1 I can kind of agree to John young and not agree at the same time I agree because some family’s might not have enough money to pay the school fees and I don’t agree because if some people are have to pay like the wealthy people have to pay and the greedy people have to pay too

    • dickensdiv16

      Interesting, Crazymemeslol123, this is one of those cases where many people can see both sides of the issue! How would we make a decision about who had to pay and who didn’t?

  9. Rouge

    #1 I agree that families should not have to pay for school supplies every year. I think that lots of families can’t pay the fees because school supplies can be really expensive. Public schools should be free and affordable for everyone. #2 I think that if fundraising and fees were out of the question our school would reuse and reduce a lot more. We would probably use old school supplies and paper to make new handmade school stuff and activities. However I do think that fundraising is a good way in schools to make money, like our Spring Fling.

    • dickensdiv16

      Rouge, thank you for taking a stab at question #2 – I agree with you that reducing and reusing could go a long way to reducing the costs of running a school. I’d like to know more about what you think our class could do to contribute to this idea. Maybe for our Spring Fling craft this year we could look at using recycled materials and it would be a double-whammy!

  10. SoccerBoyABC123

    #1 I agree that students should not have to pay because if they pay the money they might not have enough money to buy food or house hold essentials . just because you bot them doesn’t mean you have to charge the students you could do a nice favour and not charge them.

    • dickensdiv16

      SoccerBoyABC123, you agree with a lot of your classmates that for some people, the school fees are too much, and that essentials are more of a priority for families. Who do you think should make the decision not to charge students – the teachers, the principal, the school board or the government?

  11. Don't Let The Muggles Get You Down

    1 I agree with John young because that even if you can pay the fee it could mean that the one family could pay but maybe that would be a lot of money for them then the child wouldn’t get new clothes when he/she needed it most. Or one family could not pay but they payed for it and then they might not be able to meet all the child’s need’s and he/she could be effected very badly by it all. So think that is best for the schools not to ask for the fees.

    • dickensdiv16

      DLTMGYD, I like how you made an argument for your point of view and ended with a bold statement that tells what you think should be done. If we didn’t ask for the fees, no one would have to make the choice to pay or not to pay, or how to prioritize their finances to ensure essentials are available.

  12. balloongirl123

    1 I disagree with John young because some parents can’t afford that much it should be like 20 dollars because 32 dollars is way to much for that much school supplies

  13. xaxo6 04

    If it was mandatory to pay, I’m sure some family’s wouldn’t be able to cope with the money they were being made to pay. I think that the government should be paying the schools, so that they don’t have to get extra money from families who can’t pay the fees.

    • dickensdiv16

      xaxo6 04, this is a very clear and concise response. Do you think that the government should increase the amount of money given to schools per student for schools to decide how to spend, or do you think that there should be an extra fund for supplies and extras?

  14. Purple Pickle

    #1 I think people should pay school fees because the money is going toward the government to make our country even better. Also if your family can’t afford to pay school fees then they don’t have to so I think it’s totally fair and that school fees should keep going.

    • dickensdiv16

      Purple Pickle, you often consider all sides of the question in your response. I appreciate your thoughtfulness. Is there a point when you think that school fees could get to be too expensive and that you would change your mind?

  15. vid30 g@m3r

    1# I think that parents shouldn’t pay for school fees. One reason is that some kids buy their school supplies from other stores (like STAPLES) and they have to pay for some supplies that they won’t even need. Another reason is that like everybody else is saying, some family’s can’t afford to pay for their children’s supplies.

    • dickensdiv16

      vid3o g@m3r, do you think that families should have a choice whether they buy supplies on their own or give money to schools? One of our past students who has moved to a different country says that they have to buy their own supplies there. I wonder how that works out if the students run out or they lose their supplies…?

  16. The Baconator

    I disagree with John Young. I think that if you should be able to choose if you want or can pay school fees. Because some families can’t. If the school doesn’t get enough then
    well………. they can have a bake sale or something.

  17. Joaquin

    If it is illegal to charge school fees, why are we still paying them? Why is the VSB taking money from students when according to Mr. John Young it is against the School Act? I tried to look at the school act @–%20S%20–/05_School%20Act%20%5BRSBC%201996%5D%20c.%20412/00_Act/96412_02.xml and I could not find the section that talks about fees, to be honest there were a lot of laws so maybe I missed it. I know that our school fees are only $25, but they have gone up a lot because when my sister started Kindergarten the fee was only $12.50 and that was only in 2005. I also know my parents pay a lot for my sisters school fees to attend their mini school, they have to pay for the regular school fee plus the mini school fee… every year for 3 years. That’s a lot of money for them to pay for something that is offered in the public school, imagine how much money it is to go to private school! And how much it would cost for my parents if all of my siblings and I went to the same mini program, it would be like $3000- if the cost doesn’t go up in the next few years. After reading the article, I agree with Mr. Young that we should not pay school fees because education is the key to success and for a strong and healthy society. If people can’t afford to go to school then we will see less professionals working in their dream jobs and more people working at McDonald’s and other low paying jobs while trying to support themselves and their families.

    I think that the school districts have already taken a stand about the money that schools get with the strike, but the government doesn’t put kids first, They don’t think putting money into schools is important even though education is so important to help people reach their goals and dreams for their future.


    • dickensdiv16

      Joaquin, you raise an excellent question. I really appreciate that you took the time to do your own research in order to better understand the question. You’re right, the School Act is a very big document, and there are actually other regulations for schools that are in other laws. I think we all agree on the importance of education and the need for all people to have access to it. I think you’re saying that fees could possibly be a barrier for people’s success and happiness, and it’s true that fees tend to increase both as time goes on and as students get older. And yes, for families with more kids, this can be a pretty big hurdle!
      Joaquin, this is an excellent post. Thank you for raising the bar for your classmates and giving us a great example of a really thoughtful and well researched response.

  18. Iron lantern

    I agree with John young that you don’t have to pay school fees because that money could be used for food
    Or rent ext .also so people won’t dreading the day of school fees becuse
    They have 6 children so that would have to pay 192 dollars that
    They couldn’t afford.

    • dickensdiv16

      Iron Lantern, you’re right – I’ll bet there are families that really do dread that day. Your math there shows just how quickly that money adds up for families with lots of kids. In addition, there are all of the extra requests for money throughout the year for field trips and things like sports day freezies…

  19. TechNerd

    I do not agree with John Young. I believe that 25 dollars for a year is not much, but at the same time who is going to pay the school fees of millions of kids across Canada? We are lucky that it is only $25, some kids at different schools have to pay way more than that. We are lucky that we are only paying $25 a year. If we did not have to pay for school fees, who would, tax payers? The government? Well, if the government did pay for it, it would be with tax payers money, so it would be the same thing. If that did happen Canada would be driven into the floor. We would not have any more money to pay for important things, school is Important but $25 is not much. Each family should pay the $25 fee if they are able too, if they can’t the school or the government can support them and they would not need to pay it if they cannot afford it. If the government payed for everybody’s fees the government would be bankrupt or close to bankrupt.

    • dickensdiv16

      TechNerd, I really like how you followed your thought through to the end – You make the point that if school fees weren’t charged, that taxpayers would have to provide the money anyway. You’re probably right, in that increased taxes would be one way to eliminate the need to ask parents for school fees, but I think that people pay taxes based on their income, whereas school fees are the same regardless of how much income you make. Do you think there are other things the government could cut spending to in order to put more money into schools without raising taxes? Interesting thought!

    • dickensdiv16

      Glad to see you back, PG Dinosaur. I hope you’re feeling better! I’d like to hear more about this – do you think that no fees should be asked for at any level of school, or for any program?

  20. the DUDE

    i really do agree that canadians should not have to pay school fees because what if a kid doesn’t have enough money to pay the fee he/she would not get that good of an education. This is also why I don’t agree with private schools particularly.

  21. Panda Tush

    I think that its reasonable to pay for a school fee because it helps the school afford for field trips and new projects for the students, but after reading the article, some of my opinions changed. it does come to my mind that families should not pay the school fee because the school board should be able to provide the basic and most needed supplies.

  22. Sr.Fruitcake

    I don’t agree with John young because I think that the school board needs some support, I agree that parents who are not able to pay the school fees shouldn’t have to pay them but I think that the school board shouldn’t have to pay for everything when they can have some support. I feel that it is something that should just make it more obvious to the government that we need more support especially to those who are the ones who cant pay school fees. I think making there be no school fees is something that will not protest and I think that giving them the option and protesting will just help us out. I agree with Patti Bacchus that it is some thing optional but not something we cant help out with.

  23. super cheese cake

    People pay taxes to the government. The government take part of the taxes as educational expenditure to support the schools. So the school supplies should be part of the expenditure. Student don’t have to pay extra fees.
    But students have to cherish all the supplies and resources. DON’T WASTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Koshka2

    I disagree with John young because I know parents that can’t pay it, if they can pay it then just pay it …
    It is like a good 32$, and some parents don’t get a lot of money. But still it is for school supplies, so if you can pay it then just pay it!!!

  25. Ginger

    I think that school fees are a reasonable thing to pay at the beginning of each school year. Paying 32$ for a whole year of school supplies is much less expensive than it would be to buy it yourself. Because schools buy supplies in bulk it is much cheaper for schools and families to get good quality equipment. For families who can’t afford to pay school fees, there has always been the option for the family to let the teacher know that they can’t afford it, and their child will still get supplies. I think that John Young has a point but paying school fees is not such a bad thing.

  26. The Bean

    #1 I think that I’m going to disagree with Mr. Young on this one for a few reasons. I don’t know about other schools but at our school if you’re unable to pay the fees you can get covered by the school. 32 dollars doesn’t seem to much to pay for an entire years supply of materials. Since there’s hundereds of kids in most schools if the schools didn’t charge students it would cost them thousands of dollars to pay for supplies. Since there’s hundereds of schools in the province that’s a LOT of money. If the kids pay the fee it deffinetly helps the schools out but really you’re not forced to pay if you can’t.

  27. Shadow145

    1# I disagree with john because the school would have to pay for there supplys paying 32 Is not much money for using school supplys for an entire year.

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