B.C. premier Christy Clark has named a new parliamentary secretary to the minister of education for independent schools (better known as private schools).
Simon Gibson, the B.C. Liberal MLA for Abbotsford-Mission, takes over from Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Marc Dalton. The latter has left the government caucus to sit as an independent as he seeks the federal Conservative nomination in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge.
"Simon has been a strong representative for the people of Abbotsford-Mission, and his abilities will be put to good use in this new role," Clark stated in a news release. "I'm pleased to have him joining our excellent team of parliamentary secretaries, advocating for independent schools throughout B.C."
Private schools in B.C. received almost $315 million in provincial funding for the 2013-14 academic year. That's up from $295 million in 2012-13 and $251 million in 2009-10.
Bricks and mortar operating grants comprised $257 million of the 2013-14 total. The remaining $57 million were special purpose grants.
There are now 350 private schools across the province. For 2014-15, these schools registered 80,783 students. (Public schools serve 552,788 students.)
Clark's semifamous son, Hamish Marissen-Clark, attends the private St. George's School in Vancouver.
For day students, the annual fees for that school are $19,785 for grades 1 to 7 and $22,115 for grades 8 to 12. Fees are higher for boarding and international students. (An international boarding student pays $58,275 per year for grades 8 to 12.)
The St. George's website helpfully outlines three payment plans for parents.