02/01/2013 09:29 EST | Updated 04/03/2013 05:12 EDT

Parents tired of paying for school supplies turn to Quebec court

Some Quebec parents want to launch a class-action lawsuit against the province's school boards because of annual fees they have to pay for educational tools.

They argue the cost of things they have to purchase for their children — such as music instruments, dictionaries and calculators — goes against the provincial law that states primary and high school education should be free.

Parents with children in 12 school boards have filed lawsuits against individual school boards, but a lawyer hopes to take the complaints a step further.

Manon Lechasseur, the lawyer representing a Saguenay mother in a lawsuit, has asked the Quebec Court of Appeal to consolidate the suits into a single class-action lawsuit against all of the province's school boards.

Lechasseur said the parents involved understand they have to pay for pens, paper and some other materials their children need at school.

"Dictionaries, locks, graphic calculators, surveillance fees ... parents are seeing a multitude of fees being demanded from the school boards," she said.

Lechasseur said parents are being forced to pay between $50 and $150 a year per child.

Lawyers representing some of the boards say a class-action suit would be unmanageable.

Some even compared the lawsuit to asking for a public inquiry on school policies.