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Eight-year-old Emma Larocque came home from school this week with her school's annual request to sell chocolate bars to help raise money for her school.

This year, that request asked students to go door to door to raise $20,000 for items such as educational materials, desks and chairs — a provision that left her father, Mathieu Larocque, feeling shocked

I know there's been lots of cuts in the system over the last year, and I guess that's where we're at," said Larocque, who has two children attending École de l'Odyssée in Gatineau, Que.

"But still, I find it pathetic that we have to go out [on] the street to sell chocolate bars to buy chairs and desks," he added.

The French-language note sent home with children said the fundraising project is aimed at making the school "more stimulating for the development of our students."

It said that this year, the money will be put toward educational and cultural activities, educational material and furniture for students — specifically desks and chairs.

Schools, however, are not supposed to fundraise for essential school items like desks and educational materials, according to Claude Beaulieu, chair of Commission scolaire des Draveurs, the school board that oversees École de l'Odyssée.

It's against the board's policy to raise money for anything but activities outside the general curriculum, Beaulieu said.

Desks and math books are not extras, he said.

"This is where the government cutbacks have left us," said Tardif.

As for Larocque, he said he doesn't blame the school for the request his daughter Emma received — he blames the provincial government instead.

"What I blame is just the state of funding of the school system in my province," he said.

Students at Gatineau school asked to raise $20K for desks and chairs - Ottawa - CBC News