To the editor:
I want to start off by saying I hope the teachers’ strike gets settled as quickly as possible and children can go back to learning at B.C.’s public schools.
That being said, I also want to refute the misconceptions being made about the independent school system in B.C.
In the Thursday, Sept. 4 print edition of the Capital News, Shirley Harshenin writes: “And why is private school funded at all by us, the taxpayers? It should not be. If you’re not happy with the public school system, then pay for private, but do not ask or expect me to pay for any part of it.”
First of all, the school system outside the public system is referred to as the independent school system, not the private school system.
Secondly, Shirley Harshenin seems to forget that parents of children in the independent school system are taxpayers too. If she doesn’t want her taxpayer dollars to go to the independent school system and have it 100 per cent paid for by the parents of the students attending, wouldn’t it be fair then that the parents of these children should not be paying taxes in to the public system since their children do not attend there?
To take it further, should all people who have never had or never will have students in the public school system not pay taxes in to the public school system? That’s not how our system works.
To put it another way, parents of independent school system children pay 50 per cent or more than their public school counterparts. They could put their children in public school for free but choose to pay 50 per cent or more of the cost by putting them in the independent system thus saving the public system money. Given the current problem, could you imagine how much worse it would be if tens of thousands of additional students were in the public system?
Make no mistake. These are not all well-off families. Some work extra hard and make extra sacrifices in order for their children to attend a school that may be closer, offer a religious component which the public system doesn’t, or just believe their children are getting a better education. They should not be vilified.