Groups push for Alberta to phase out provincial funding for private schools
Public Interest Alberta and 13 other groups are urging the provincial government to phase out public funding of private schools over three years.
The groups say that money — $248 million last year alone — could go to reduce school fees and class sizes, increase supports in classrooms and bring in a school lunch program. They point out those were some of the promises the NDP made in the last election campaign.
The groups say they are OK with continued funding for special education schools.
Arlene Hrynyk, president of Public School Boards Association of Alberta, says continuing to support Alberta’s private schools takes funds away from children in the public system.
Advocates of private schools say it’s cheaper for taxpayers to partly fund private schools than to place those students elsewhere.
“The simple math is that, on average, $5,100 or $5,200 goes to a student who goes into an independent school,” said John Jagersma, executive director of the Association of Independent Schools and Colleges of Alberta.
“If that child crosses the road and goes into a public school, it costs the taxpayer $13,000.”