Poll suggests most Albertans want to stop funding private schools

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Poll suggests most Albertans want to stop funding private schools

There's widespread support for phasing out public funding for private schools, according to a new poll released Wednesday by Environics.

The results were made public at an event in Calgary held by a coalition of organizations, including:

- Alberta Teachers' Association. 

- Calgary and District Labour Council. 

- Public School Boards Association of Alberta. 

- CUPE 520. 

- Progress Alberta.

"We subsidize our private schools more than every other province in the country," said Duncan Kinney, the executive director of Progress Alberta.

"We have 15 elite private schools in Calgary collectively soak up more than $30 million annually in public subsidies," Kinney said.

The poll shows close to six in 10 Albertans think the government provides too much operational funding to private schools and that 65 per cent somewhat support or strongly support reallocating funds back into public schools.

It also found 87 per cent of Albertans agree that schools receiving government funding should be required to be inclusive, accepting all students, regardless of cultural, social, religious or economic background.

"If it's going to be a private school with a targeted focus and parents would like to send their children there, that should be their focus. The use of public funds puts undue pressure on the rest of the public system where we're trying to meet the needs of all children," said Mark Ramsankar, president of the Alberta Teacher's Association.

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The poll was part of regular tracking surveys conducted for the Alberta Teachers' Association.

The findings come from a telephone survey of 805 adult Albertans interviewed in March. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points, 19 times out 20.