Column: From the Desk of Financial Services

andyby Andy Isbister

In 2012, the St. Albert and Sturgeon Valley School Districts Establishment Act (Act) came into force. The Sturgeon School Division, a Public School Division, was expanded to provide Morinville students with access to public, non-denominational schools and the Greater St. Albert Catholic Separate School District (GSACSSD) remained to provide Morinville students, access to a minority faith based Roman Catholic School system. As a result, both a Public and Roman Catholic Separate School District now exists within Morinville.

Under the School Act, the Greater St. Albert Catholic Separate School District may pass a resolution opting out of the Alberta School Foundation Fund. The impact of such a resolution is that school taxes declared to GSACSSD will be paid directly to GSACSSD while the remainder of the school taxes will be paid to the Alberta School Foundation Fund.

Accordingly, all individuals who own property in Morinville are required to declare their taxes in favor of the public or Roman Catholic separate school district. Information relating to the declaration process will be sent to ratepayers in the near future. You will be asked to respond to this communication by December 31, 2013 for the 2014 taxes.

Regardless of which school district you support, your school taxes will be the same amount. Under the School Act, the Roman Catholic Separate School Board cannot charge either a lower or a higher levy than their Public School counterparts.

If you require additional information relating to the School Tax Declaration process, please feel free to contact us.

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  1. I’m curious as to why the GSACSSD would need to do this. Typically, changes to the status quo are made because there is a perceived benefit to doing so. I would be interested to hear what the perceived benefit to the GSACSSD is. One of my concerns is that, down the road, my school Tax will increase as a result of something like this.

  2. I do not like how this is being done. In the paperwork I received, it states that if I am Roman Catholic I must support GSACRD and if I am not Catholic, I must support MPES. This is taking away my right to choose! It doesn’t make much sense to me. Is there a way around this?

  3. I’m concerned that this article is going to create confusion for many people. All education dollars are allocated from Alberta Education on a per student basis. There is no benefit to any school board who opts out of the Alberta School Foundation Fund. Since 1995, it doesn’t make any difference if you declare to support either the public or the separate board as far as how much money they are able to get from municipalities for their operations.
    The reason for the declaration of faith is merely a formality as it would require constitutional amendment to remove the rights of a separate school board to directly tax it’s electors. The myth of course is that “Catholics pay for Catholic schools.” The reality is that everyone pays for all schools equally. The vast majority of education funding come from the general revenues of the Alberta government, not from municipal school taxes.

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