An Environics poll released Wednesday suggests a majority of Albertans support or “somewhat support” phasing out public funding of private schools and reinvesting the money into public education.
“Two-thirds of Albertans express some level of approval for the proposal,” said Tony Coulson of Environics.
Several groups that have long called for the defunding of private schools said taxpayer dollars can be better spent on other areas, like school nutrition programs and making education “more inclusive.”
“The costly and needless subsidies that go to elite private schools must end,” said Duncan Kinney, the executive director of Progress Alberta.
“That’s $30 million a year that could be going to reducing school fees even further or making sure that no child goes to school on an empty stomach,” Kinney said.
Kinney said there are 15 private schools in Calgary that charge more than $10,000 a year in tuition, but get more than $30 million in subsidies every year.
“The costly and needless subsidies that go to elite private schools must end,” Kinney added.
CUPE Alberta also supports phasing out private school funding.
“For years, our members have been telling me stories about our underfunded public schools,” said Marle Roberts, president of CUPE Alberta.
“We can reduce those pressures by using public money where it is meant to be spent – on public schools. Subsidizing the wealthy and privileged does little to improve education or society,” Roberts said.
“It simply puts money into the pockets of the rich.”
On the question of phasing out public funding of private schools (and redirecting savings into the public system), 37 per cent of respondents strongly support the proposal, and 28 per cent support it somewhat.
Seventeen per cent are strongly opposed, and 16 per cent are somewhat opposed.
The poll results are based on a telephone survey of 805 adult Albertans between March 6 to 14, 2017.
The margin of error is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points at a confidence level of 95 per cent.
More to come…