5. HALT PUBLIC FUNDING FOR PRIVATE STUDENTS WHOSE FAMILIES PAY NO CANADIAN TAXES (April 13, 2016)

From: Julee Kaye
Sent: April-13-16 10:18 AM
To: ‘educ.minister@gov.bc.ca’; ‘mike.lombardi@vsb.bc.ca’;
‘allan.wong@vsb.bc.ca’; ‘Janet.fraser@vsb.bc.ca’;
‘fraser.ballantyne@vsb.bc.ca’; ‘christopher.richardson@vsb.bc.ca’;
‘patti.bacchus@vsb.bc.ca’; ‘joy.alexander@vsb.bc.ca’;
‘penny.noble@vsb.bc.ca’; ‘stacy.robertson@vsb.bc.ca’;
‘david.eby.MLA@leg.bc.ca’; ‘andrew.wilkinson.MLA@leg.bc.ca’;
‘communications@vsb.bc.ca’; ‘nbrennan@vsb.bc.ca’; ‘jpearce@vsb.bc.ca’;
‘jstewart@vsb.bc.ca’

Subject: 5. HALT PUBLIC FUNDING FOR PRIVATE STUDENTS WHOSE FAMILIES PAY NO CANADIAN TAXES

To VSB’s trustees & Superintendents, our Minister of Education, and my local
MLAs:

Given the apparent dire condition of public school finances, few taxpayers
would likely want to see their tax dollars used to fund private students
whose families pay little or no Canadian taxes while still somehow being
able to put their children in private school. As we will see below, however,
the practice appears to be common. Please ask your staff to investigate the
problem, and consider withholding public funding for private school families
who do not wish to provide Canadian income tax statements. The money could
be better used to support our struggling public schools.

Up until 2012, the Fraser Institute published the average parental income at
each of the schools that they ranked. In my neighborhood, we were surprised
to learn that parents at the private West Point Grey Academy report LOWER
average income than parents at the adjacent Queen Mary public school:
$132,400 for the WPGA families vs. $152,600 for the public school families,
with the lower income families somehow paying $20,000 per year per child in
private tuition on the west side of Vancouver. The same discrepancy occurred
between the average incomes of families at Crofton House private school and
those at the nearby Kerrisdale public school: the private school families
showed an average income of $113,800 while the public school families
declared $122,300 income.

Moreover, a couple of local sports celebrities – believed to be making $4-5
million per year each – were thought to have their children at WPGA at that
time. To keep the average family income at the school at $132,400 while 2
families are making $5,000,000 each would require, for example, that 158
families made only $70,000 each. $70,000 would leave each family about
$40,000 after taxes, which is enough to pay private tuition for two children
– in the unlikely situation that they have zero other expenses. The more
probable explanation is that a lot of families at the school declare little
of their total income in Canada.

Surely there exist more efficient forms of foreign aid than to use public
money to subsidize the BC private school tuition fees of families with
apparently ample income outside of Canada*.

Here is the 2012 Fraser Institute report card on BC schools, showing income
data for most schools (but not strangely for Vancouver’s prestigious St.
George’s private school):
https://www.fraserinstitute.org/sites/default/files/SchoolReportCard-BCElementary-2012.pdf

Thank you for your attention to this matter,
Julee Kaye
(Parent from QEA, JQ, General Gordon, Kerrisdale, Kitsilano & soon Point
Grey)

*In rare cases of genuine financial need, the schools would presumably be
providing a full scholarship to the student in question and in these cases
there need be no objection to the public funding also being provided.