By Letter to the Editor on November 24, 2018.
There is quite an ongoing debate concerning public funding of education for private schools.
We could discuss the Charter of Rights here, but right now I want to discuss logistics. The Alberta public needs to know how desperately this issue affects every single taxpayer.
If private schools are defunded, many parents will no longer be able to afford to send their children to private schools (we are talking $8,000-10,000 per student).
There are approximately 7,700 children in the Pallister district alone. Adding an extra 1,500 children would mean a 20 per cent increase. Many of these students will be going to rural schools that are already over capacity and relying on portable classrooms.
In 2017, Premier Notley told the CBC: “There’s no question that best practices would be to reduce them even more. But as things stand right now, we’re trying to maintain the quality that we can.” Speaking to the Alberta 2018 budget, the Alberta Teacher’s Association president Greg Jeffery adds that it “does not do enough to help teachers deal with large class sizes or support students with special learning needs.”
Some classes will double in size. As a teacher myself, I can assure you that taking on extra students is stressful. We are talking less resources and one-on-one time with students, particularly ones struggling with learning disabilities.
The Palliser website states that it was forced to cut more than $475,000 from the 2018-19 budget just to balance the books. Defunding private schools hurts not only those children, but all children – your children.
Here is another point: private schools pay approximately 30 per cent of tuition out of their own pockets, including the maintenance of infrastructure (never mind the actual infrastructure) and teacher pensions. The government pays only part of their tuition now. If private schools become a thing of the past, the government will have to fork out all of their tuition.
In a nutshell, what money is going to be used to educate these children if private schools close? Why, your hard-earned tax dollars!
I would like to leave you with one parting thought: imagine as a business owner your employees offered to buy their own office space and vehicles, pay maintenance and renovations costs on both, and pay their own pension and benefits, but only want to be paid 70 per cent of the going wage. Would you not want these employees?
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