Important information regarding education property tax collection

The December 2016 edition of the Your County In Touch newsletter distributed by Lac La Biche County included some inaccuracies and omitted some important information that may have caused some confusion for local residents.

Northern Lights Public Schools would like to offer the following points of clarification to address local residents’ concerns and questions:

  1. All publicly-funded school boards, whether they are designated as Public (like Northern Lights Public Schools), or Separate (usually Catholic or Francophone), receive funding from Alberta Education based on the number of students enrolled in their schools on September 30th of any given year. The funding is the same regardless of whether a student is enrolled in a Public or Separate school.
  2. Declaring to your municipality that you wish to be identified as Catholic does not affect the amount of funding any of your local school jurisdictions receives. The Separate Catholic school system does not receive “extra” money from property taxes based on the number of people who identify as Catholic in a particular geographic area.
  3. Declaring to your municipality that you wish to be identified as Catholic DOES affect whom you can vote for in school board elections. If you declare yourself as Catholic, you can only vote for trustees who are running for election to the Separate Catholic school board. You will not be able to vote for trustees running for election to the Public school board, even if you send your child(ren) to a Public school.

Section 44(4) of the School Act states, “Where a separate school district is established, an individual residing within the boundaries of the separate school district who is of the same faith as those who established that district, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic,

(a) is a resident of the separate school district, and
(b) is not a resident of the public school district.”

You are not required to declare yourself as Catholic unless you want to vote for Catholic school trustees in school board elections. If you do not make a declaration, you will be eligible to vote for public school board trustees, regardless of which faith you practice.

For more information, please check out the following links:

Alberta Municipal Affaris Education Property Tax Facts and Information

Education Property Tax Alberta Fact Sheet

Alberta Education Education Property Tax and Education Funding