Facts and Information
Total support for the Kindergarten to Grade 12 education system will reach $5.8 billion in the 2007-08 fiscal year, of which $1.556 billion will be funded from the education property tax.
Although the provincial uniform education property tax rates will be reduced by about 5.8 percent in 2007, government will collect $81 million more in education property tax revenue as a result of newly built homes and businesses and real property improvements.
Excluding capital, about 30 percent of Kindergarten to Grade 12 spending will be supported by the education property tax.
This will be the 14th consecutive year that education property tax rates were lowered or frozen. The province's commitment to low education property tax rates is a key reason why property owners in Alberta continue to pay among the lowest property taxes in the country.
To ensure the separate accounting of education property tax funding, the Alberta government established the Alberta School Foundation Fund (ASFF) in 1994. This fund makes certain that all education property tax is accounted for separately from general revenues.
You asked us...
How does the province collect the education property tax?
Every year the province calculates, based on assessment value, the amount each municipality must contribute towards the provincial public education system. Municipalities collect the education property tax and then forward it to the province for deposit into the ASFF.
How is my share of the education property tax calculated?
Your share is based on the assessment value of your property and the local education property tax rate. The assessed value of your property multiplied by your local education property tax rate determines the amount of education property tax you must contribute. A decrease in the local education property tax rate can help lessen the impact of assessment value increases on your individual tax bill.
Where does the education property tax go?
All the money collected through the education property tax goes to fund Albertans' priorities in education. The education property tax is pooled into the ASFF and then distributed among Alberta's public and separate school boards on an equal per-student basis.
All separate school boards in the province have opted-out of the ASFF, which means they requisition and collect property tax money from the municipalities directly. Any difference between what an opted-out board collects and what they are entitled to receive is adjusted for so there is no financial gain to a school jurisdiction that opts out of the ASFF.
What does the tax pay for?
The education property tax supports all public and separate school students. The education property tax helps pay for instructional costs including teacher salaries, textbooks, and other classroom resources. The education property tax is not used to fund other government operations, capital expenditures like school facility construction or renovations, teachers' pensions, private, charter or Francophone schools.
Why is education partially funded through a property tax?
The education property tax provides Alberta's education system with a stable and sustainable source of revenue. Pooling the education property tax in the ASFF ensures that students receive a quality education regardless of their municipality's assessment wealth.
Does everyone pay the education property tax?
All property owners pay the education property tax. People who rent or lease property contribute indirectly through their monthly rent or lease payments. As the education system benefits all Albertans, people without children in school also pay the education property tax.
Every Albertan benefits from a quality education system. Alberta students perform among the best on national and international tests. The education property tax supports an education system that is producing the workforce of tomorrow.
Can I direct my education property tax to a private school?
No. By law, money collected through the education property tax can only be used to fund the public education system, which includes public and separate schools. Private school funding comes from three sources: provincial general revenues, tuition or instruction fees paid by parents, and private fundraising.
Why are property owners asked to declare their faith?
The Constitution of Canada guarantees Protestant and Roman Catholic citizens' minority rights to a separate education system. In communities where there are separate school jurisdictions that have opted-out of the ASFF, property owners must declare their religious affiliation, either Protestant or Roman Catholic, to determine what education property tax dollars should be directed to those separate school jurisdictions.
Whom can I call for more information on my property taxes?
Contact your municipality regarding:
- the assessed value of your property,
- market value assessment,
- declaration of school board support, or
- paying your taxes through a prepayment plan.
Contact the Government of Alberta Education Property Tax Line toll-free by dialling 310-0000 and then 422-7125, or (780) 422-7125 regarding the education property tax.
Details of the Alberta School Foundation Fund are published in the Alberta Education Annual Report, available online at: www.education.gov.ab.ca/annualreport
Education funding information is available at: www.education.gov.ab.ca/funding
Seniors can contact Alberta Seniors and Community Supports toll-free at 1-800-642-3853, or 427-7876 in Edmonton, or visit the Ministry's website at www.seniors.gov.ab.ca for more information on:
- the Alberta Seniors Benefit, or
- other provincial programs and services for seniors.