Gerry Foley: Picking the pocket of private schools will cost State a lot more in long run
THE Government has a commitment to educate all the children in the State. It costs the State less to educate a child in a fee-paying school than it does in a state school and fees paid by parents in the fee-paying schools make up the shortfall in government funding.
If the fee-paying schools were to close, the Government would have to find substantial additional funds to honour its commitment to educate all children. The simplistic argument that the €90m which goes to teachers' salaries -- it is not paid to the schools -- could be diverted to more worthy educational expenditures is wrong.
Parents, who are taxpayers, in fee-paying schools now fund the building, equipment and maintenance cost themselves. It would actually cost the Government significantly more because they would have to pay the full costs to educate all students, build additional schools and respect the right of each child to an education.