Swann seeks to amend Bill 1 to include charter schools in fee reduction

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann is proposing an amendment to Bill 1, An Act to Reduce School Fees, to remove a clause which enables the NDP to exclude charter schools from school fee reductions.

“Alberta Liberals certainly support making life more affordable by reducing school fees; in fact, we would eliminate them completely,” says Swann. “However, we feel that all parents with students in public schools should benefit equally from these changes.

“My amendment ensures all public school student fees are reduced, which is what the NDP government had originally promised to do.”

The Charter Schools Handbook clearly defines a charter school as “a public school that provides a basic education in a different or enhanced way to improve student learning.”

Public Interest Alberta, a lobby group with extremely close ties to the NDP government, refers to charter schools as private schools, which “are not necessary or helpful.” It advocates eliminating their funding to “reallocate the money to fulfill [NDP] education-related campaign promises.” These proposals were included in a backgrounder to a release opposing Motion 504, which has been removed from Public Interest Alberta’s website. A copy was obtained by the Alberta Liberal Opposition and is available here.

Swann points out that this is exactly the scenario Bill 1 makes possible.

Yesterday, in Question Period, Swann pressed Education Minister David Eggen to clarify the government’s position on charter schools, but the Minister evaded the questions.

“The NDP is being unfair to the parents of charter school students and its decision to exclude them from this fee reduction is not based on fiscal or social realities; rather, it is ideologically motivated,” says Swann. “The government needs to be transparent about its plans for charter schools, not do it on the sly through regulations.”