Sunday, April 23, 2017

“If it’s unconstitutional in Saskatchewan, and that analysis is constitutionally valid, then it’s unconstitutional in Alberta,” Adams said. The ruling has “no impact on the Alberta education system,” Alberta Education Minister David Eggen said in an email Friday.----------

#EducationSuperboard required for one school system in Alberta. Money would be freed up for kids and front line staff rather than duplication of services and expensive bureaucrats.

If upheld, a Saskatchewan court decision about funding Catholic education could have profound ramifications for Alberta schools, a constitutional law expert says.…
CALGARYHERALD.COM

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http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/saskatchewan+court+ruling+could+mean+shakeup+alberta+catholic/13318542/story.html

Saskatchewan court ruling could mean shakeup for Alberta Catholic schools

JANET FRENCH, EDMONTON JOURNAL  04.22.2017
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A Saskatchewan court ruling may have implications for which students can attend Alberta Catholic schools.SHAUGHN BUTTS / EDMONTON JOURNAL
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Saskatchewan Education Minister Don MorganDON HEALY / EDMONTON JOURNAL
If upheld, a Saskatchewan court decision about funding Catholic education could have profound ramifications for Alberta schools, a constitutional law expert says.
Saskatchewan Catholic schools have no constitutional right to public funding to educate non-Catholic students, Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Donald Layh ruled Thursday after a 12-year legal battle.
Alberta and Saskatchewan have equivalent laws granting Catholics and Protestants the right to create separate, publicly funded school boards, said University of Alberta associate professor of law Eric Adams.
If the case heads to the Supreme Court of Canada, Alberta’s schools could be in for a shakeup.
“The stakes are enormous in that sense,” Adams said. “In the short term, nothing much will change.”
Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario are the only provinces with fully publicly funded Catholic schools.
The case stemmed from a 2003 dispute in the village of Theodore, Sask., where parents fought to keep open a public K-8 school of 42 students, rather than have them bused 17 kilometres to another town. When the public school division closed the school, local families formed a new Catholic school division for the area, which then bought and reopened the school. The majority of students were not Catholic.
At the time, the Saskatchewan education ministry saw the move as a “misuse of the constitutional provisions” for religious education, an internal document said. The public school division then sued the Catholic school division and the Saskatchewan government.
In the complex, 242-page decision, Layh ruled the Saskatchewan government is violating the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by paying for non-Catholic students to attend Catholic schools.
The result, Layh said, is that some provisions of Saskatchewan’s Education Act and accompanying regulations are “of no force and effect.”
The judge gave the government until June 2018 to find a fix.
The Saskatchewan government hasn’t yet decided whether to appeal, Education Minister Don Morgan told a news conference Friday in Saskatoon.
If the decision holds, non-Catholic students in Saskatchewan will have to move to public schools by fall 2018, which could put a major strain on that province’s public system, Morgan said. It could also take a bite out of Catholic school funding.
“If I was a parent, I would have some angst,” he said.
Adams expects the parties to appeal the decision. The Alberta government may seek intervener status, given its stake in the outcome, he said.
“If it’s unconstitutional in Saskatchewan, and that analysis is constitutionally valid, then it’s unconstitutional in Alberta,” Adams said.
The ruling has “no impact on the Alberta education system,” Alberta Education Minister David Eggen said in an email Friday.
“Any student in Alberta can enrol in the school of their choice, provided there is sufficient space and resources,” Eggen said.
An Edmonton Catholic school trustee said at a March board meeting some crowded south Edmonton schools have asked to see students’ baptismal certificates before enrolment.
The Alberta Catholic School Trustees Association’s lawyer is studying the Theodore ruling closely for Alberta implications, association president Adriana LaGrange said. There are subtle legal differences between the two provinces’ definitions of a Catholic student, she said.
She doesn’t know how many students enrolled in Alberta’s 18 Catholic and four francophone districts are non-Catholic, and said the association may need to assemble that data now.
“Historically, Catholic schools have always accepted students that were of other faiths.”
She had hoped the court would rule in favour of her Saskatchewan Catholic colleagues. The association did not provide any money to its Saskatchewan counterpart to help with legal costs, she said.
With files from Erin Petrow, Saskatoon StarPhoenix
jfrench@postmedia.com
Twitter.com/jantafrench
Julie Ali ·
I have always wondered why we have two school systems in Alberta. In my opinion, this is a misuse of public dollars. The money would be better spent by funding each child directly and then the money could follow the child to whatever school decided upon.

If the parents want private school or Catholic school they should take the money and put it into these forms of education.
If the parents want public schooling that's where the money goes. There should be one common school board province wide. We are paying a whack of money for duplication of bureaucratic systems in the public and Catholic system for no good reason that I can determine. If it's not required to do this --why are we doing it? With one major system we would free up money for kids and front line staff. Its a win win situation.

It's the same poor situation in the health care system in Alberta where we have to pay for the bureaucrats and executive staff that cost us major bucks at AHS as well as at Covenant Health.
Why are we even paying for any of the services provided by Covenant Health? Why are we paying for upgrades to their properties?

No one for example explains to me why public funds are going to renovations at the Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton that is not part of the AHS fleet of properties.

http://globalnews.ca/.../65m-for-misericordia-hospital.../
$65M for Misericordia Hospital will include new emergency department
The $65 million is on top of more than $9 million the province has spent on improvements to elevators, water systems, fire alarms and sprinklers.
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Ailina Coraline
Perhaps the public school board should have listened to the non-Catholic parents instead of closing their local school down. Religion had nothing to do with it, really.
LikeReply29 hrsEdited
Bruce Pettigrew ·
This ruling is the start of what will be a major shift in the organization of publically fundied schools in Alta and Sask. It will have ramifications that will shake the very fundamental structures we have had across our provinces. Up until now there has not been a real challenge to the public taxation funding of parochial schools in Alberta and Sask. Catholics have been guaranteed public funding for a 'separate' system in the NW Territories Act and after the Manitoba Schools Question. They have fought hard to defend this priviledge.
In many smaller communities across Alberta and Sask there are two 'competing' school systems that consume limited resources and return less than ideal educational services due to small size of both systems. Both schools struggle to deliver good education to their students but are constantly struggling for resources to the detriment of students.
UnlikeReply221 hrs
Susan Gibson
I agree with your comments. Where do you see Muslim students who want a prayer room fit in? Perhaps we should make all schools non secular and get rid of religion in public schools? It seems religion is getting in the way of education.
LikeReply519 hrs
Ailina Coraline
In this Saskatchewan school case, there was no competing separate board until the non-Catholic parents decided to create one after the original public board closed down the town's only school. The parents were not concerned with religion at all, but with keeping a school in their community.
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