ONE BOARD FOR ALL
Surely it is time to do away with the dual system of school board funding (In Push For Funding, Ontario Catholic Boards Look Beyond Faith To Enroll More Students, Feb. 13).
It has always cost taxpayers more, complicating rational planning. And it disadvantages the public system, which must accept all students, regardless of family background, while the Catholic schools can pick and choose based, it seems, on interviews with the parents.
Where might that leave the children of single or less-committed parents, whose first language is not English, or who have behavioural problems?
Let’s have one equal, and more affordable, system for all. Carol Town and Richard Harris Hamilton
Contrary to Alberta law professor Eric Adams’s views, I believe that political conditions are indeed ripe to amalgamate the public and Catholic school systems in Ontario.
As leader of the Ontario PCs in 2007, John Tory’s mistake was to suggest funding all religious schools. He would have had my vote had he proposed funding none.
It is long past time Ontario joined the modern secular world that Quebec and Newfoundland now inhabit. They couldn’t afford separate systems, and neither can we.
Amalgamating the school boards is part of the Green Party platform for the coming Ontario election. Will any other political party have the courage to challenge so many entrenched stakeholders for the public good? The public school system educates all children, but Catholic boards get to pick and choose, and reap the associated financial benefits. How is that moral or fair? Alison Harvey Ottawa
In Manitoba, there is not a Catholic school system, but there is a mechanism for independent (non-public) schools – faithbased or not – to exist, and it has been a good compromise that preserves both choice for parents and quality of education.
The independent schools have to follow the public curriculum, and the public purse in Manitoba does not fund construction or capital upgrades of those schools, but funds each student the equivalent of half of what a public school student is funded. Those schools charge tuition to parents for the balance of the money.
The system actually saves money for the public system and allows parents to choose which school to send their children to.
But it ain’t perfect. Despite often generous full- and partbursary programs, tuition can be high enough that some families can’t afford to send their kids. However the alternative of sending their children to a public school is not a bad one, since the quality of education and outcomes is usually equivalent. Peter Smith Winnipeg