Media releases | March 05, 2018

EDMONTON – Public Interest Alberta joined with 16 other organizations today to urge the provincial government, in Budget 2018, to reduce public funding of private schools, exempting special needs schools, and reallocate the funds to improve classroom conditions in Public, Catholic, and Francophone schools.

“The upcoming budget is an opportunity for the government to show Albertans that improving classroom conditions in our Public, Catholic, and Francophone schools is a priority,” said Joel French, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “By reallocating funds that are currently being wasted on subsidies for private schools, there is room to fund a project to demonstrate the positive impact of better classroom conditions without affecting the overall budget.”

The organizations’ proposal is to:

1. In Budget 2018, reduce public funding to private schools from 70% to 50% (with the exception of special needs schools).

2. Re-allocate the $30 million in savings to fund a classroom conditions improvement project in select Public, Catholic, and Francophone schools.

Representatives of organizations supporting the proposal offered the following comments:

"Public education is the best place to achieve equity, providing a universally accessible environment for children to learn across faith, across ability, and across socioeconomic status. We are calling on the Alberta Government to focus its efforts and public dollars on public education, reinforcing the principle that public dollars are collected for public use, in service to society at large." - Carolyn Blasetti, Executive Director of Support Our Students (SOS) Alberta

"Limited funding for support staff in our increasingly complex public school classrooms means many students are not getting the attention they need to succeed at school. Every dollar that goes to an elite private school is a dollar taken from public schools that are open to all Albertans." - Marle Roberts, President of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Alberta Division

“The Alberta Government needs to demonstrate that our children are at the heart of all decisions. It is time for our Government to take this first important step by reducing public funding of private schools from 70% to 50%. It is time for our Government to stand with us and our children. Our children are watching and counting on us.” - Cathy Hogg, President, Public School Boards’ Association of Alberta
“Learning in Alberta’s public, separate and francophone schools is hindered by large class sizes and undersupported special needs. Meanwhile, some private schools charge more than $10,000 per year in tuition and boast about their small class sizes. With limited public funding available, teachers believe that the government should prioritise funding to enhance public education over subsidies for private schools.” - Greg Jeffery, President, Alberta Teachers Association

"Public education must be inclusive and accessible for everyone. Private schools are not. We are calling on the government to reinvest money spent on private education into supporting public education classrooms. It is important that tax dollars are invested wisely. Public funding belongs to schools that use it to educate the public – all of us – no matter what our backgrounds or income." - Bridget Stirling, Vice-Chair and Trustee, Edmonton Public School Board


Participating Organizations:

• Public Interest Alberta
• Public School Boards’ Association of Alberta
• Alberta Teachers’ Association
• Edmonton Public School Board
• Progress Alberta
• Support Our Students Alberta
• Edmonton and District Labour Council
• Edmonton Catholic Teachers
• Edmonton Public Teachers
• Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Alberta
• CUPE Alberta Education Employees Committee
• Calgary Board of Education staff (CUPE Local 40)
• Edmonton Public Schools custodial staff (CUPE Local 474)
• St. Albert Public Schools support staff (CUPE Local 1099)
• Edmonton Public Schools support staff (CUPE Local 3550)
• Sturgeon Public Schools support staff (CUPE Local 4625)
• Edmonton Catholic School support staff (Unifor Local 52A)

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Media Contact:

communications@pialberta.org