Councillor, neighbours should avoid generalizing about GNS

It's not just wealthy families at independent schools

Re: Tax break irks neighbours (News, May 4)

I would like to comment on the inference by Mr. Sudds that the families of Glenlyon Norfolk School are wealthy and are being subsidized by others due to the school’s property tax exemption.

Although I obviously cannot speak to the personal wealth of all families at the school, I can certainly speak to mine.

I am a single mother with no form of support other than my employment income. When we moved from Toronto in 2006, my kids continued in the public school system.

In 2007 I was introduced to GNS and after meeting the principal and teachers, I decided the fit would be better for our family going forward.

I am by no means ‘wealthy’ and the commitment to tuition has required me to push out my retirement plans and make other concessions. The assumption that my choice to pay for my children’s education defines me as wealthy is a misnomer and actually quite insulting, especially in this context.

I also take issue with the comment made by Coun. Ben Isitt (who, in my opinion, has a higher responsibility to understand the facts than the average citizen), that “GNS clearly has the ability to pay the tax bill.”

He neglected to get all the facts, as the lion’s share of the school’s surplus was as a result of parent donations and earmarked for a new theatre arts centre. Anyone who visited our school would understand the need to upgrade our facilities.

My children have flourished at GNS and at no time would I suggest that this could not have happened in the public school system. But I made the choice to invest in their education through the independent school system and I believe it will continue to pay off over the course of their lives.

I sincerely hope that whatever decision is made on the treatment of the ‘not for profit’ status of independent schools is done with a greater consideration of the actual facts, rather than the opinion of those who have clearly not done their homework.

Lesley Brown

Victoria

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