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Dear Editor,

With the extension of on-line learning for children in Grey and Bruce Counties, once again the availability of technology is in the minds of parents. Recently, I wrote about how the publicly-funded faith-based system was able to provide Chromebooks for their students (regardless of need), while those in the Public System were forced to make do with a loaner.

Many of these elitists clambered to rationalize their privileged allotment of resources. And it is elitist: it’s a system where rights (to a faith-based separate system paid for on the public dime) and privileges (such as a home computer) are granted to one specific segment — an elite — and denied to everyone else. Principle argument: the Catholic Board doesn’t waste its money on useless people in the central-office role, so it can spend more on children.

Before I begin, I feel it is necessary to remind people that there is no difference between how much taxes any given Ontarian pays towards education. It is also important to remember that we all pay our taxes — parents and non-parents alike. And, as taxpayers, we all have a right to demand that our taxes, paid by everyone, are being used efficiently and fairly. It is also important to remember, in the era of ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’, there are some things that are, simply, true.

Here is the numbers for the school year of 2018-2019: the most recent numbers available from the Ministry of Education. These tell us how many children were enrolled in each board (Bluewater and Bruce-Grey Catholic), and how much we the taxpayers paid to educate them: Bluewater spent $215,993,081 to educate 16,720 children; Bruce-Grey Catholic spent $64,342,591 to educate 4,605 children.

In other words: it took $12,918.25 to educate a child in the Public system; it took $13,972.33 to educate a child in the publicly-funded faith-based system. Or, as a direct comparison: it required $1,054.08 more per child. It is not a more efficient and child-focused board. It is simply better funded … by all of us.

Now, if we were to take the total amount spent in Grey and Bruce, and divide it by the total number of children, a fair cost-per-child would be $13,145.87. This would mean a decrease of $826.46 for every Catholic child, and an increase of $227.62 for every Public School child. Or about the cost of a Chromebook.

Jake Bates,
Owen Sound, Ontario

(Editor's note:  "Per pupil funding is not meant to be equal, as different boards have different needs. But it is meant to provide equal educational opportunities for all students." - People for Education  For reference, here is the Government of Ontario's 2018-19 Guide to the Grants for Student Needs

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels



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