What is the Impact on ALL Students When Independent Schools are NOT Funded Fairly?

Purpose
On behalf of the many independent schools in the province, we are writing you to increase your awareness of the role we play in our Alberta education system.

The Results are similar!
On April 8th, all of the independent schools administrators in the Calgary area attended a meeting put on by Alberta Education. They had someone from STATS there to show us how our students did in comparison to the general school population. The results were very similar. I asked why they had shown this and what were they expecting . . . they had thought our results would be soooo much better. I pointed out that they obviously had no idea who independent schools were or who they serve. Do you?

We are not all Strathcona-Tweedsmuir!
If we blindfolded you and dropped you into one of our independent school classrooms, we bet you wouldn’t see a difference in the make-up of the students. Independent schools serve everyone! We support:

• 30% of all the severe special needs students in Calgary despite the fact that less than 10% of the total student population of the city is registered in independent schools;

• refugee families, first nations kids and students with mild and moderate learning disabilities;

• Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Secular families;

• rich and poor alike!

Taken as a whole, the independent system serves the same kind-a-kids as the public system.

Is there Choice?
The independent system across the province only serves 4% of the total student population. We consist of many small community ECS programs, small private schools and specialized programs. By cutting support for independent schools, you are reducing the ONLY choice parents have in education! (http://aisca.ab.ca./faq.html )

What about the Money?
Did you know that every time a student registers in an independent school, it saves the province over $9000.00? Plus our parents pay educational taxes to support the public system! The money that supports independent schools DOES NOT come from educational taxes! (See Education Act) We do not take away from the public system!

If every child in the independent system moved into the public system, schools would need to support an additional 45,937 on top of the already forecasted 12,000 student increase for 2015/ 2016 school year. There are simply NOT enough physical buildings to accommodate the existing student numbers. (https://education.alberta.ca/department/stats/students/studentpopulation.aspx )

• Did you know that every independent school provides their own building? NO COST TO THE PROVINCE!

• Did you know it costs the province about $15,000 per year per student in the public system? Independent schools receive only ~$ 4500 per student. That is more than a 66% savings! (http://education.alberta.ca/admin/funding/manual.aspx )

• Did you know BC has approximately 11% of their students being served by private schools? We have only 4%. They save millions!

What do We Want?
Successive PC governments in recent years have slowly but surely reduced funding for independent schools, making their sustainability increasingly difficult. It’s time to put an end to the gradual deterioration of these highly valued schools. We’re calling on candidates to express their position on the fair funding and sustainability of independent schools in Alberta.

Voters deserve to know exactly where their candidates stand on this issue. We urge voters to consider whether choice in education for their children is something they value and whether they are comfortable with the government’s assault on school choice.

• Independent schools expected and were prepared for the likelihood of government cuts to education. However, they were shocked to learn that the government chose to unfairly target them with punitive and disproportionate cutbacks.

• This is not a fair a budget. It discriminates against students in independent schools and against their families.

• Budget 2015 will have serious short and long-term consequences for not only independent schools but also blocks choice in education. Despite the government’s rhetoric, this Budget clearly does not value educational choice.

• These cuts are ill conceived and will impact many of the most vulnerable, high-risk and high-need students across Alberta, including many in independent schools and community kindergartens.

• Budget 2015 dismantles a funding formula that, although flawed, provided for a more equitable distribution of funds.

Please Support Independent Schools!
Go and visit the schools in your area! All of the schools – independent and public (Charter, Public, Separate, Alternative) Ask what they need and how you can help them! Get educated about how our education system works in this province! Understand we are an essential piece of the system!

DOWNLOAD: Who are your independent schools and candidates in your area

Author: Diana Stinn

Co-Founder of Phoenix

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