Very sad to see that our Mayor, Tony Fraser, and Deputy Mayor, Allan Armstrong, have endorsed the report which calls for the abolition of the Catholic School Board. Mr. Armstrong is quoted as saying, “…this will be the single-most significant piece of policy or action that we take as a four-year council.”
For starters, I believe most people can see past the deception presented in the report, which calls for the “amalgamation” of the two school boards. Previous calls for the abolition of the Catholic School Board have not resonated, so the language has been softened. For me, this is a clear indicator for the nature of the report.
One of the arguments presented is the large school board districts for rural areas and the competition between school boards for students. The solution recommended is to eliminate the Catholic School Board. In the report details, the only concrete data to support this recommendation is a reference to a United Nations Court decision citing the Catholic School Board’s discriminatory policy.
Not mentioned in the report, but cited in a couple of the news articles, there is $1.6 billion in savings that is expected to be found. While I’m sure the author of this statement can produce some budgetary figures to support this claim, I think most of us will remember the significant reduction in property taxes we experienced when the local municipalities were amalgamated. Or the wonderful reduction in our electricity bill when the utilities were consolidated. So, pardon me if I take this idea with a grain of salt!
Once again, our politicians have taken the easy road, by not asking the important question…why? Why, when some churches are closing in our area and church attendance is falling at many of the remaining churches, is the Catholic School System still going strong? Shouldn’t it just fade away into obscurity as the Catholic Church becomes less relevant in the modern culture? Clearly, many people (and many are not Catholic), feel there is benefit provided by the Catholic School Board that isn’t available at the Public School Board. If there is an issue with competition between the boards, it is because the Public Board isn’t allowed to provide religious instruction. It’s as simple as that. People’s faith may not be at the forefront of their lives, but it still matters.
It seems we are on a path to de-Christianize our society. Getting rid of the Catholic School Board is a really significant step on that path. We should ask the hard questions and understand what we are leaving behind and what will take its place.