“While the country continues to navigate an extremely difficult phase, like clockwork the Catholic Church advances its demands for funding for Catholic private schools. The 120 million euro that has been allocated with the emergency act are not enough. They want a billion. It is always the same story: the government accommodates the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) by redirecting funds away from public schools, under the usual false pretense that private schools areessential, and it would be a disaster without them. A real bit of fake news: first of all the funds that go to private schools are much higher (about a billion euro a year calculating the money that comes from other public administrations), and secondly if private schools were to close that would not necessarily meana mass migration to public schools (albeit a desirable outcome), considering the fact that parents choose to send their children to confessional schools. And finally, if there were a massive return to public schools the impact would be minimal because most of the public costs are fixed (teachers’ salaries and building maintenance) and not variable“.
The secretary of the Italian Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics (Uaar), Roberto Grendene, comments on the recent news regarding funds for private schools.
“In all this mess, however, there is some positive news”, continues Grendene: “The CEI would like to use the 8×1000 tax rebate allocated to the Catholic Church for educational purposes, that is for its schools. Finally we agree on something! Catholic private schools must be financed by the Church or by private individuals in general, given that they have a religiously oriented educational project. We encourage the CEI to do just that, as long as this perverse tax rebate mechanism is in place, use the funds you collectto finance your schools. We are sure that even if law 222/1985 governing 8×1000 mechanism does not directly permit it, the CEI will find a way to do it and nobody will complain about it. Alternatively, use the wealth already in your possession. The Church is the largest property developer on the market, just sell off a small part of its empire and finance your own private schools! The curia of Bologna owns FAAC, the multinational of automatic gates, listed on the stock exchange and worth 1,5 billion euro. There you go, – concludes Grendene – to satisfy the wishes of the CEI, use the proceeds of these “pious” activities, without draining resources to public schools which are already hard pressed to make ends meet.”