Private schools are siphoning tax money that should go to public schools, says board chair

Red Deer Public School Board chair agrees with campaign to end public funding of private schools

The Alberta government should stop publicly funding private schools, says Red Deer Public School Board chair Bev Manning.

Since money is tight in this economy, Manning believes the NDP government needs to review whether it’s using education tax dollars wisely.

“We provide a valuable education that’s open to all students,” regardless of religion or ability levels, she added, while “private schools can accept who they wish to accept.”

And Manning believes learning disabled children are generally not among the ones selected for a private school education. Students needing more educational resources are among the broad spectrum of children taught by public schools.

Last week, a coalition of 14 groups, including the Alberta Teachers’ Association, backed a call from Public Interest Alberta to phase out funding for private schools (excluding those for students with special needs).

Private schools in Alberta receive 70 per cent of the per-pupil funding of public schools. Advocates for public education say that ending private school funding could free up $100 million per year for programs in public, separate and francophone schools that serve 93 per cent of Alberta students.

But the opposition Wildrose Party disputes limiting educational choices for families.

Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA Don MacIntyre, believes Alberta is a diverse province and parents have the right to decide where their education dollars are going. “There are those who prefer public schools, others prefer separate schools, or private charter schools, or home schooling,” he added.

Although the NDP raised concerns about private school funding while in opposition, the party stated it will maintain the status quo after winning the 2015 election.

Red Deer’s two MLAs, Barb Miller and Kim Schreiner, could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Manning is concerned scarce resources are being siphoned off from public schools. When “every dollar is stretched as far as it will go,” she urged Albertans to pressure the government to stop funding private schools.

She noted her district already responds to various local needs, even having the Gateway Christian School.

While the intent of the Public Interest Alberta campaign is not to target separate school funding, Manning said Catholic schools, by virtue of their title, are also exclusionary.

But Paul Mason, superintendent of Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools, said Catholic districts have existed for more than 100 years in Alberta and accept many non-Catholic students, including Hindu and Muslim ones.

As to the lobby to remove public education funding from private schools, Mason said, “any additional funding would be appreciated.”

Just Posted

Mothers Against Drunk Driving hold candlelight vigil

Four-and-a-half years ago Marilyn Rinas’ husband was killed in a collision with… Continue reading

Thousands expected at memorial for fallen police officer in Abbotsford, B.C.

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — The streets of Abbotsford, B.C., will be lined with… Continue reading

One person dead, five others injured in early-morning crash in Kingston, Ont.

KINGSTON, Ont. — A man who was checking the damage on his… Continue reading

Gus is a special, collaborative art exhibit inspired by motherhood

The portrait display by mother and son is showing in Red Deer

Robotics challenge sparks student interest in Red Deer

Student-built robots compete in fun challenge

Chicken crosses B.C. road, stops traffic

Rooster makes early morning commuters wait in Maple Ridge

Red Deerian honours her brother who died in a motorcycle collision

Houaida Haddad is encouraging Red Deer residents to donate blood

Red Deer County firefighters to be recognized for Waterton help

RCMP brass will give formal recognition Monday

Ron James tries to lighten humanity’s load through humour

The comedian returns to Red Deer for shows Dec. 1 and 2

100+ Women Red Deer donate to Christmas Bureau

About $14,000 will help with Christmas hampers and toys

Semi collides with vehicle on Highway 2 north of Ponoka

Members of the Ponoka Integrated Traffic Unit dealt with a call on Highway 2 north of Ponoka

After 70 years, Red Deer veteran still remembers his traumatic war experience

Frank Krepps feels lucky to have survived the Second World War

Merritt Mountie charged with assault

Charges are in relation to an incident in May at the detachment, B.C. Prosecution Service said

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month