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New report shows education choice saved Alberta taxpayers $1.9 billion

October 01, 2019
New report shows education choice saved Alberta taxpayers $1.9 billion

CALGARY, AB: Alberta’s independent schools and home education saved taxpayers $1.9-billion over eight years, according to a new report commissioned by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) and Alberta-based Parents for Choice in Education (PCE).

“The province’s own data shows clearly that independent schools and home education are a bargain for taxpayers, since these students receive only a fraction of the per-student amount provided to public schools and receive zero per cent for their capital costs, including buildings and busing,” says policy analyst Mark Milke, who co-authored the report with CTF’s Paige MacPherson.

Key findings in the report, How educational choice saved Alberta taxpayers $1.9 billion and supports student success, include:

  • Taxpayer costs per student enrolled in independent schools ($5,404) and home education ($1,671) are substantially lower than in government schools ($10,801);
  • The existence of government funding for independent schools and home education has saved taxpayers $1.9 billion over eight years, which is greater than the money needed for all requested capital projects by the four largest Alberta government school divisions over the next three years; and,
  • Enrollment numbers between 2010/11 and 2017/18 show that growth was slowest in public-government schools when compared to all other education options analyzed, meaning families are increasingly seeking alternatives to public-government schools.

Donna Trimble, Executive Director of Parents for Choice in Education, sees this report as essential to confronting false narratives about education funding. “Alberta families from a range of socio-economic backgrounds are increasingly seeking alternatives to public-government schools to support student success. Any loss of funding for these alternatives would not only cost taxpayers more, but also create a two-tier system where only the wealthy can afford education choice and no one else can.”

“Education choice is saving taxpayers a ton of money. With the Alberta government steamrolling towards $100 billion in debt, it needs to look at all options for saving money, such as supporting education choice for parents and students,” said Franco Terrazzano, Alberta Director for the CTF.

The full report can be found on the websites of Parents for Choice in Education (https://www.parentchoice.ca/oct2019_pce-ctf_fundingreport) and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (https://www.taxpayer.com/media/PCE&CTF_Education_Report.pdf).

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