Groups push for Al­berta to phase out pro­vin­cial funding for pri­vate schools

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

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.”

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