Mount Baker Secondary School in Cranbrook.

Mount Baker Secondary School in Cranbrook.

SD5 is not considering fees for non-resident students

MLA Tom Shypitka had raised concerns that the school board was considering fees for WHL players

The Southeast Kootenay School District board chair is disputing a claim that a fee is being considered against out-of-province WHL players who attend school in Cranbrook.

The issue was raised by Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka, who accused the Ministry of Education of eliminating WHL players from student rolls that have been funded in the past. That move is forcing the school district to consider a fee for out-of-province students, according to Shypitka.

However, Frank Lento, the School District 5 board chair, says the district has no plans to charge a fee for out-of-province players who suit up for the Kootenay Ice.

“We haven’t considered a fee for Ice players in the past and we will not consider it in the future,” Lento said. “We take great pride in providing the education programs for Ice players. We find this is our little contribution to the ownership, to the community of Cranbrook and to the players, and even though we don’t get funded for these players…we take great pride in providing education programs for the Ice players.”

The Ministry of Education says there has been no change to policy around out-of-province students, according to a statement released Thursday afternoon.

“The ministry funds school districts directly,” reads the statement. “The Ministry of Education does not charge fees to non-resident students, and cannot waive fees which it has not imposed.

“However, school districts have the discretion to provide educational programming to out-of-province students. It’s up to local Boards of Education to determine whether to charge fees.

“The ministry has reached out to the Southeast Kootenay School District, and officials have confirmed they have never discussed the issue of charging fees and it is not being considered at this time.”