Planning Field Trips and Fees
There is a lot of pre-planning that happens before any field trip is planned for students and brought forward for approval. The first step is to ensure that the field trip is connected to the curriculum and will enrich and deepen the learning for all students. Teachers must consider the educational value of every trip they book. Once they have identified which field trips they will pursue, the next step in planning is calculating the cost.
The cost of any field trip includes the price of admission to the venue and the cost of transporting students to the venue. This is the tricky part. For some trips, the cost is per class and for others, the price is based on the cost per student. When the cost is per class, we take the class cost and divide by the number of students there are in the class. We do the same for bussing costs. For example, we might take students to the Calgary Zoo. To take a full grade to the zoo, the total cost would be approximately $2500.00 divided by 100 students or $25.00 per child. (see below for cost break down)
Field trips are not optional. These trips are planned intentionally to increase and deepen the learning and development of your child’s understanding of the curriculum and to provide experiential opportunities for students. They are an instructional day for students and all students are expected to attend. When we plan, we assume that all families will pay for their child’s trip. All field trips costs must be approved by our district office and Alberta Education. Teachers work diligently to ensure that the field trips planned are the best value possible from both an educational and cost effective standpoint.
So what happens when families do not pay their child’s field trip cost? The school is left with the bill. The zoo does not refund us if we do not have full attendance, transportation costs are not refunded if the buses are not full.
If 10 families do not pay for the zoo field trip, that means the school is short $250. These shortfalls can add up quickly. If each grade takes 3 field trips in a year, that means the school must find $2250 to cover these costs. We do not increase the per-student field trip cost to cover the shortfall. Doing so would mean families that pay their field trip costs would be covering the lack of payment of others. We do not believe this is fair.
There are circumstances where your child may not be able to attend because of illness or family commitments. If you have chosen to excuse your child from school or take a family vacation on the day of the field trip, as a school, we are still expecting you to cover the cost. Our school calendar is posted in advance of the school year and we are expecting all students to attend school on our scheduled school days.
If your child struggles on field trips and needs additional support, we understand. The best solution is having adult family members join us as volunteers. Children love it when their parents or grandparents join us on trips. Many wonderful memories are made on these days. Teachers often know field trip dates well in advance of the actual trip. Please reach out to our teachers and ask if they have any dates booked so that you can plan your work schedule to allow you to join us.
Financially, field trips can stretch a family budget. If this is the case, we appreciate a phone call or conversation with the child’s teacher to make arrangements to assist and provide support so that, that child does not miss the opportunity.
The cost per zoo session is generally around $250 per class.
The busing cost is $16.27 per hour for the driver, with one extra hour paid for pre and post trip planning and maintenance plus $1.10 per km. From IRIC to the Calgary Zoo it is approximately 325 km round trip. It takes 2 hours to travel each way as the buses typically drive approximately 100 km/hr. We also need to pay the drivers for their time while the students are in the zoo - programs are generally 90 minutes to 2 hours. (Sometimes we look at completing 2 sessions to maximize our day of travel, for this example we will look at one session.)
7 hours for each driver = 7 x $16.27 = $113.89
Minimum of 3 buses needed for one grade - 100 students plus teachers, EAs and parent supervisors. The labour cost is $341.67.
Mileage is $1.10 x 325 km = $357.50 x 3 buses = $1072.50.
Mileage plus labour = $1414.17
Field trip is $250.00 x 4 classes - $1000.00.
The total cost of this particular sample trip is $2414.17. With 100 students this would mean $24.14 per student, let’s round that to $25.00. We round to the nearest dollar. If for some reason, we are left with extra cash at the end of the year, we apply it to the last trip of the year and adjust the cost.
**If a family reaches out to us and needs support, we have a number of strategies to help out and provide support and assistance. If you qualify for the Alberta Child Health Benefit, you will probably qualify for the school waiver of fees. Blackfalds FCSS also has a number of programs to support town families.
Understanding School Fees
Understanding School Fees
Thank you for your interest in our school fees. Below is an explanation of each fee category. All school fee are due and can be paid online or at the school office.
Lock Fee - $8.35
Each student is issued a lock at the beginning of grade 4. The student owns the lock and will take the lock with them when they leave IRIC. This cost will only be charged in Grade 4 or for replacements of lost locks. It is expected that students purchase the lock through the school. This allows the office to be able to open lockers should the need arise. If a lock is faulty and stops working we will exchange the lock for a new one, free of charge.
PBL Supply Fee - $30.00
Each student will be participating in two Project Based Learning (PBL) experiences. This fee is for project work related to Career and Technology Foundations (CTF) outcomes for grade 4-6. Money collected may be used to bring in speakers such as yoga instructors, dietitians or experts for the project launch or the culmination of the project to further enhance learning and programming like 'Zed Science'. In the past, costs that have been incurred for these types of projects have included: supplies over and above art supplies provided by the school such as poster boards, rolls of tape, manila tag, materials for the holiday markets. Costs may vary from year to year since these projects are student driven and their over-arching question will influence the materials required. Any funds not spent on these projects will be redirected to year-end field trips.
Technology Fee - $25.00
This fee covers the costs of online learning tools and subscriptions, apps and/or enhancements, and software. Subscriptions to learning software, such as Reflex Math and Mystery Science can be accessed at home allowing parents to further support their students learning and development. The fee may also covers repairs and maintenance on school-owned resources such as grade team iPads, which all students have available to them for Freshgrade/project work, covers/protectors, power bars, extension cords, and other consumable items such as labels, zip ties.
Cultural Supplemental fee - $6.00
This fee covers cultural events; Artisan in Residence, Author Visits, guest speakers, enrichment programs, special presenters, etc. coming to IRIC throughout the school year. This fee will contribute to whole school presentations.
How to Pay School Fees
All school fees, urban busing fees for Wolf Creek Public School students can be paid by following these steps:
- Click on the Parent Portal and Online Payment button
- Log in to the PowerSchool Parent Portal
- Click on the link 'Student Fees' in the sidebar navigation menu
- Review your child's fees
- Add any additional items to your shopping cart
- Check out and pay for student fees
School Fees can be paid in full or a payment schedule can be set up.