Common Myths About Independent Schools

The provincial government is negotiating with the BCTF regarding their upcoming collective agreement. I wish both sides the best in coming to an agreement that is fair to all sides. Most of all I hope students receive the support they need to succeed in their education.

Often a part of the news cycle during these negotiations is scrutiny of monies paid for independent schools. There are some common myths that often resurface. I’d like to bust those myths today.

Myth #1 Catholic Schools are rich “private” schools. When one hears the term “private,” one envisions ivy covered brick walls and students driving up in their parents’ Mercedes. For the vast majority of schools in the CISVA, nothing could be further from the truth. Many of us are struggling to get by, living hand to mouth when it comes to government funding and tuition. I would challenge anyone who believes we are “rich” to walk the halls of Cloverdale Catholic School.

Myth #2 Catholic schools take money away from the public education system. As a Group One independent school, we receive half of the “per student” grant received by public schools in our district. We make up the difference through tuition, parish subsidy, fundraising and cost savings. Catholic schools thus save the government a lot of money; about $4000 per student, plus the cost of buildings and maintenance.  Our parents still pay full taxes, so taxpayers come out ahead when it comes to the funding provided to independent schools.  Parents in independent schools are not draining the public school system, they are subsidizing it.

Myth #3 Catholic schools are elitist and do not accept students with disabilities. Of all these myths this one hurts the most! Not only do we accept students with disabilities, we embrace them wholeheartedly. We work closely with families and outside professionals to provide the best programming we can for these precious children. Our school has the provincial average number of students with learning challenges.

Myth #4 Catholic school teachers are less qualified than public school teachers. Our teachers are fully certified through the same governing body that regulates public school teachers; the Teacher Regulation Branch of the Ministry of Education. Our teachers graduate from the same universities and take the same courses as the public school teachers.