The Prince George school district is on the hook for student fee repayment after a legal judgment made in BC Supreme Court a few days ago.
On Friday, Madame Justice Jane Dardi ruled that two class action lawsuits filed against many of B.C.'s school districts (linked cases Helem and Riazi) were valid arguments.
"Under the terms of the settlement, parents who paid tuition [to the school boards in question] for their child's instruction in secondary-level summer school remedial and completion courses offered in 2004, 2005 and/or 2006 [can claim] a refund of 70 per cent of the fees paid or a credit equal to 100 per cent of those fees for tuition in other courses," said a written statement issued by law firm Poyner Baxter LLP, representing the complainants in the two group cases.
The legal argument had been alive since 2009 when first the Vancouver then a provincial cluster of school districts were sued by a group of parents over bills for tuition.
According to the law firm, the complainants believed the tuition fees "violated the provisions of the School Act requiring school boards to provide, free of charge to B.C. students of school age, instruction in an educational program sufficient to meet the requirements of secondary school graduation."
School District 57-Prince George was one of the districts charging fees for such courses outside the regular school hours.
"Yes, we were named in the class action suit regarding summer school," SD57 superintendent Brian Pepper confirmed. "We believe our exposure is minimal for the 2005 and 2006 school year. We discontinued practice of charging money in 2007."
Terms of how much money might have to be repaid were not disclosed at this time.