There’s a well-known adage that says, “You get what you pay for.” Is that saying applicable to Mississauga private school fees? After all, private school tuition payments can easily be comparable to automobile or even mortgage payments each month, so making sure that you’re getting the best value for your money is important.
As a former private school administrator and principal, I have a very good understanding of where your tuition dollars get allocated. Your private school monthly cost is determined largely by the following factors.
- The salary and benefits package offered to each staff member at the school.
- The number of students per teacher.
- The costs associated with purchase, upkeep and expansion of the facilities.
These are, by far, the most significant cost issues a private school needs to control. In fact it is not at all uncommon for a private school to allocate 60-70% of their entire budget to teacher pay. Therefore it makes sense that if teachers are being paid well the costs are going to rise dramatically. However, if the school averages twenty-or-more students per teacher, a higher-paid teacher’s cost-per-student drops considerably compared to a school committed to small class sizes of say fifteen students per teacher. Generally, smaller class sizes are more ideal for learning than those schools where the goal is to fill the room with students.
Private elementary schools in Mississauga try hard to balance the class size with the ability to retain teachers, since experienced staff are often better teachers than their less-experienced counterparts. However, this is not always the case. Some teachers get comfortable (some even get lazy) in their tiny classroom kingdoms, but their experience teaches them how to get away with looking engaged with the students when that may not often actually be the case. If I had to choose between a classroom with fifteen students and a second-year teacher or a classroom with twenty-seven students and a teacher with ten years experience, I would rather see my child in the classroom with fewer students. The very best teachers in almost every school are among the most experienced of the bunch. But years of experience alone are not a great indicator of teaching prowess. For that, go with reputation from students and parents who have had this teacher in the past.
After the cost of the staff, the private school monthly cost is going to be most significantly affected by the costs related to the facility itself. Unlike public schools which get their buildings and land paid for by taxpayers, private schools often have to take out large loans to finance land purchases and construction costs. These capital expenses must be passed along to the customers of the school. And unless the private school you are considering has some wealthy donors offsetting some of these major capital costs, it can really add up. Facilities costs usually also include grounds keeping staff and handymen, so if you’re considering a school with large, spacious grounds and ornate, expensive buildings, keep in mind that those luxurious facilities are likely to be financed, in part, by your tuition dollars. In reality, schools that aren’t well-heeled know that they can’t afford to price themselves out of the market. If they charge a high monthly fee their customers are going to expect more from the school in return. The schools that have managed to stay in business for at least ten years have figured out what they need to do to manage the balancing act. We all want our children in schools with well-paid, experienced teachers where the student-to-teacher ratio is low and at a facility with lush, well-maintained buildings and grounds. The best private elementary schools in Mississauga are the ones that offer the best of all three. But private schools have little choice but to make the parents of the students pay for these features, so the best school for you will likely be the one that offers the best of these three at the most affordable price.
I’ve focused primarily on the costs associated with elementary schools. High school programs have other large-ticket expense lines such as sports programs, extracurricular activities, and technology costs that elementary schools aren’t as concerned about.