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Liberal critic wants end to private schools

EDMONTON — Liberal education critic Kent Hehr says it’s time to stop funding private schools once and for all.

He says the schools are divisive and are taking away dollars that could be better spent in the public system.

He also doesn’t believe taxpayers should fund a particular group’s “private wants and wishes.”

He says the schools “divide children and families on the basis of race, religion, ability ... and the ability to pay.”

Education Minister Jeff Johnson says the province funds private schools for up to 70 per cent of the basic grants they receive.

Duane Platinga of the Association of Independent Schools and Colleges in Alberta says the idea that private schools are for the rich is “totally misconception.”

“The parents and the communities provide a lot of the funding,” he says. “So in an average year, I would estimate about $140 million is a saving to taxpayers.”

About 24,000 Alberta students attend private schools.

Johnson says the schools fill a void, especially for special needs and underprivileged students.

“Why shouldn’t we invest in that education?” he oaks. “At the end of the day, every Albertans has a stake in that child’s success.”



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