11. MOVING KIDS TO RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS PROVIDES ALMOST NO SAVINGS TO OTHER TAXPAYERS (April 14, 2016)

From: Julee Kaye
Sent: April-14-16

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: 11. MOVING KIDS TO RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS PROVIDES ALMOST NO SAVINGS TO OTHER TAXPAYERS (April 14, 2016)

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

My last message aimed to debunk the myth that public school program cuts
that drive more families into private schools could provide a cost savings
for many taxpayers: over a lifetime, only non-parents and uber-wealthy
parents would see net cost savings from even the extreme instance of a 50%
reduction in public education funding.

However, in my example I assumed that families who left the public system
switched to prestigious, $20,000 per year private schools. Some of you may
be wondering, what if families instead switched to cheaper religious
schools?

The answer is easy: MOVING KIDS FROM PUBLIC SCHOOLS TO RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS
INCREASES EDUCATIONAL COSTS TO FAMILIES WHILE PROVIDING ALMOST NO NET
SAVINGS TO TAXPAYERS.

First, note that religious schools receive more BC government funding than
other private schools. Religious schools receive 50% of the funding for each
student that is given to public schools. Next year, that will be 50% of
$7,166 or a total of $3,583.

Second, note that parents at religious schools are apparently able to
classify their payments to the school as a gift to a charitable organization
and thereby receive a tax deduction for their tuition fees.

Now let’s consider our sample parent, Votee McVoter, who makes $200,000 per
year. If she enrols her child in her local religious school, the fees will
be about $7,500 per year (1). As noted above, taxpayers will also provide an
additional $3,583 to the school, but that is $3,583 less than they would
have paid to educate Votee’s child at a public school.

In this case, however, Votee is able to treat her child’s fees as a
charitable donation so she reduces her total income tax bill. Her tax
bracket on the top portion of her income is 29% for federal taxes and 16.8%
for provincial taxes, a total of 35.8%. The potential loss of tax revenue to
the government is then 35.8% of the whole $7,500 tuition, which is $2,685.
This loss of tax revenue erases most of the tax savings from providing less
per-student funding to children in religious schools than those in public
schools.

Thus it would appear that encouraging families to flee public schools for
religious schools will do almost nothing to reduce the total public cost of
their education. And of course, it still leaves the affected parents with
higher costs.

INSTEAD, PLEASE PROTECT THE QUALITY OF OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS SO THAT THEY MAY
CONTINUE TO OPERATE TO THE BENEFIT OF ALL KIDS AND THE VAST MAJORITY OF
TAXPAYERS!!

Julee Kaye
(Concerned Parent from QEA, JQ, General Gordon, Kerrisdale, Kitsilano & soon
Point Grey)

(1) e.g., $7250 at Vancouver College or $7575 at Little Flower Academy,

http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/administration/legislat
ion-policy/independent-schools/grants-to-independent-schools
https://www.lfabc.org/podium/default.aspx?t=124129