Analysis: Government doubles private school aid to $2M per year

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The Cayman Islands government is doubling the amount of aid it provides to local private schools, and is now giving the money directly to individual schools rather than through the Private Schools Association.

For the year 2021, government is distributing $1 million in grants to 19 private schools that provide primary or secondary education. That amount increases to $2 million per year for both 2022 and 2023.

The government has given grants to schools for many years. In the final years of the Progressives administration, the budgeted grant amount was reduced and planned to be zeroed-out for the year 2021. However, government assistance returned to private schools once the COVID-19 pandemic hit Cayman in spring 2020.

From 2012-2017, the government provided private schools with about $1.5 million per year. In 2018 that was decreased to $1 million, according to a 2019 auditor general’s report.

Previously, the government gave the grant money through the local Private Schools Association. The ‘Plan and Estimates’ for 2020-2021 lists 12 private schools set to receive funds.

Now, however, the government has individual Purchase Agreements with 19 private schools for 2022 and 2023. The agreements indicate that all 19 private schools were to receive funds in 2021 as well.

According to the agreements, each school was set to receive $52,631 in 2021 and $105,263 apiece in both 2022 and 2023.

The amount listed for each school is the same, regardless of the number of students the school serves. The smallest schools are listed as having between 1-10 students at the primary or secondary level, while the largest has 600-1,100.

In addition to this $2 million per year programme, the government has a separate line item for ‘Private and Public School Grants’. Schools can apply for these grants to help fund events, initiatives and programmes.

The government expects to spend $375,000 on these grants in 2021 (up from the budgeted amount of $250,000). In 2022 and 2023, the grants are being tripled to $1.4 million in each year.

About 40% of students in Cayman attend private schools.

The millions of dollars in grant money that goes to private schools is a relative drop in the bucket, in the overall context of the government’s approximately $192 million per year budget for education spending.

Here is a list of the private schools set to receive the annual $2 million in government grants:

Calvary Baptist$52,631$105,263$105,26350-90
Cayman Academy$52,631$105,263$105,263200-400
Cayman Learning Centre$52,631$105,263$105,2631-25
Cayman Prep$52,631$105,263$105,263300-500
Cayman International$52,631$105,263$105,263600-1,100
Clever Fish$52,631$105,263$105,2631-50
First Baptist$52,631$105,263$105,263110-300
Grace Christian$52,631$105,263$105,263100-200
Hope Academy$52,631$105,263$105,263100-200
Island Montessori$52,631$105,263$105,26325-100
Montessori by the Sea$52,631$105,263$105,26350-100
Montessori del Sol$52,631$105,263$105,2631-10
Montessori School of Cayman$52,631$105,263$105,2631-10
St Ignatius Catholic$52,631$105,263$105,263200-600
Triple C$52,631$105,263$105,263200-600
Truth For Youth$52,631$105,263$105,263100-200
Village Montessori$52,631$105,263$105,26350-100
Wesleyan Christian$52,631$105,263$105,26360-140

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