Ontario education choice
Ontario families deserve education choice
By Tina Sartori, Montessori Academy of London, Executive Director as of July 1, 2017
Earlier this week, The Fraser Institute released a report noting that “the share of Ontario students attending independent schools increased 24.5% over a 15-year period, despite not receiving any financial support from the provincial government.”
The conclusion made by the researchers about the commitment Ontario families are making to paying out of pocket on top of the taxes garnished each year: families want education choice. And we at Montessori Academy of London think they deserve it.
Our school is an independently funded not-for-profit school with charitable status that is committed to offering families education choice. We have provided traditional Montessori education to London families for close to 50 years.
Montessori education isn’t meant to be elitist – or exclusive. We feel our students and families benefit from our diverse school community – whether that’s religious, ethnic, or socio-economic diversity. However, this diversity is hard to realize when the cost to send a child to school is constantly increasing and out of reach for many local families since no provincial support is available to them.
Indeed, several of our families know perfectly well the financial sacrifices required to afford tuition in order to provide their children an exceptional Montessori education. As a school, we are dedicated to trying to make alternative education accessible to more students, which is why we assist qualifying families with financial support through a bursary. However, that isn’t always enough.
In the case of our school, tuition currently has to cover over 95% of our operational costs including faculty and staff compensation, facilities, and programming… the costs of which increases every year. Maintenance and upgrades to our facilities are constant; we want our students to be comfortable and safe. We want them to experience the best Montessori education possible provided by our highly-trained educators. We want our incredible faculty to be compensated fairly. And we generally succeed at it – but it costs. That cost is covered by ever-increasing tuition that is simply not affordable for all London families.
As a not-for-profit organization with charitable status, we’ve increased our fundraising and development initiatives over the past few years, seeing a need to diversify our revenue stream — and take the financial burden off of tuition… and ultimately off of our families. But even partial funding through the provincial government would make a notable difference in our school —
and in the lives of many London families.
It can be done; other provinces have partially funded independent education. It’s time for Ontario to explore the idea further than it has.
How wonderful would it be if independently funded schools — whether it’s Montessori, religion-based, Waldorf or any other qualified programs — benefitted from Ontario families receiving at least a little support from the province. It’s about education choice. Families deserve it. Our children deserve it.
About Montessori Academy of London…
Montessori Academy of London is a registered charity dedicated to providing alternative education choices to the London community. Since 1968, Montessori Academy of London has provided a world-class education that promotes academic excellence, and prepares students to engage the world as active citizens and successful leaders. Montessori Academy of London is the only fully accredited Montessori school in the London area that offers a continuum of traditional programs. Visit www.montessori.on.ca to learn more about our school.