New report shows funding for private schools growing faster than public schools in BC
The Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) says new research shows nearly half a billion dollars of public money and subsidies are going to private schools in BC and suggests that public money flowing to elite prep schools should be phased out.
The left-leaning think tank looked at taxpayer dollars, subsidies and tax credits to benefit private schools, including religious and elite prep schools.
Senior CCPA economist Alex Hemingway, who conducted the research, said the dollar amount that goes to private schools is different.
“In terms of the current level of provincial subsidies to private schools … $491 million [2022-2023] – About half a billion.”
Hemingway said the study shows that while funding to private schools has increased, funding to public schools has not increased at the same pace.
“In terms of funding flowing to private schools, it’s been growing pretty rapidly over the past two decades, and when you look at it on an inflation-adjusted basis, it really compares to the funding our public school system gets. has grown rapidly.”
He explained that public subsidies are typically allocated using a formula that provides funding at 50 percent, or 35 percent, of funding per student in the public school system.
Hemingway believes that the first step is to prevent public money from going to elite prep schools used by wealthy parents and then to reform the public order.
“Promptly reallocate subsidies to those private prep schools for special educational needs in the public system and look at a gradual approach to completely eliminating subsidies to private schools.”
He pointed out that half of Canada’s provinces, including Ontario, do not provide any funding or other financial assistance to private schools.
Parents, on average, pay about $30,000 per year per student to send a child to an elite prep school.
Public education ‘underfunded’, according to report
The Ministry of Education and Child Care states that funding is provided to independent schools in accordance with the Independent Schools Act.
According to a source that has existed for 30 years, independent schools provide education programs to about 13 percent of the K-12 population and receive about 6.6 percent of the education budget.
The ministry also said that funding rates for students with special needs are the same for independent and public schools.
“We are delivering record investments in operating funding and capital projects as we build and upgrade schools in support of a more robust public education system that helps students grow,” the ministry said in a statement.
However, the CCPA report claims that public education in BC has been suffering from “chronic underfunding” for more than two decades, which has led to the closure of schools and large classroom sizes.
According to the report, B.C. has one of the lowest starting salaries for teachers in the country, about $8,000 less than Alberta, leading to recruitment challenges and a teacher shortage.