Reposted from APUPIL:
Monday, November 20th, 2017
Education Advocates Demand Answers on Catholic Trustee Legal Expenditures
APUPIL: Albertan Parents for Unbiased Public Inclusive Learning.
ALBERTA - APUPIL – a coalition of Albertans proposing the unification of the province’s separate and public school jurisdictions -- is surprised to learn that the Alberta Catholic School Trustees’ Association (ACSTA) has made a contingent commitment to intervene in the Trinity University case, should it go to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Today (November 20th) on International Trans Day of Remembrance, we remember the fact that St. Albert Catholic spent $367,000 litigating against a Trans Teacher that they fired. Despite new legislation (Bill 24) reiterating the call for staff and students to be protected under the Alberta Human Rights Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it appears Alberta Catholic Trustees are attempting to litigate in favour of their "right" to discriminate.APUPIL is surprised & concerned to learn the ACSTA have essentially withheld Alberta taxpayer dollars from the classroom to get involved in an issue outside our province, & certainly outside the obvious purview of ACSTA.
- The members of the ACSTA have withheld $430,000 from the classroom, to fund legal action and, of this $430,000.00, there is no limit on the amount they may commit to the Trinity case.
- The Trinity case has no direct application to Alberta’ separate school jurisdictions, for three reasons —
- Trinity University is a private school and Alberta’s separate school jurisdictions are a statutory civil institution — they are not private schools;
- Trinity University is a post-secondary institution and the issue is about credentialling lawyers, while Alberta’s separate schools are K - 12 institutions that do not credential professionals;
- There is no system of separate school education in B.C. so there is no relevant B.C. legislation to that may be interpreted to reflect on Alberta’s School Act.It appears to us that, separate school jurisdictions having withheld $430,000 from classrooms across the province, they are about to use the money to make a political point that will not change their circumstances in Alberta at all.APUPIL calls on the Minister to ensure the ACSTA:
- makes transparent all expenditures made with taxpayer dollars including any other cases the ACSTA are contesting
- does not seek intervenor status in cases outside of their mandate
- Reiterates support to all Catholic Boards that they are not to fire sexual orientation or gender identity staff or discriminate against transgender families.
- Reiterate that Catholic Canon Law does not apply to separate schools as they are civil democratic institutions.CONTACT:Luke FevinAPUPIL
Earlier this month, ourIDEA launched a petition calling for a referendum on the continuance of separate Catholic school boards.
“The recent provincial budget revealed serious on-going financial shortfalls for the provincial government. In education, this raises questions about duplicating administration and infrastructure costs when the money could be re-directed to the classroom for better service to students or reduced costs to parents. Imagine how much further school fees could have been reduced without the current cost of duplication.” – David King, Former Education Minister
SPECIAL EVENT: EDMONTON, On November 27th at 7PM, ourIDEA will be hosting a panel discussion and conversation with the audience on the future of Separate School Boards with panelists David King, a former Minister of Education in Alberta, parent advocate Luke Fevin and former Catholic School Trustee Patricia Grell. Everyone is welcome, and an RSVP is requested – University of Alberta (Telus Building Room 150) (For tickets please visit: www.ouridea.ca/kinglecture)
Visit www.ouridea.ca/referendum to sign the petition and learn more.
Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ourIDEA_ca
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Visit www.ouridea.ca/referendum to sign the petition and learn more.
Dianne Macaulay is a long-time Trustee with the Red Deer Public School District. We have reprinted, below, an open letter that Dianne is distributing. As the letter indicates, on Wednesday evening, April 12th, she gave Notice of her intention to move the motion set out in her open letter.
The initial response from the Alberta Catholic School Trustees’ Association is interesting.
Quoting from the Global News story -- ACSTA President Adriana LaGrange said in early April. “The only way to save taxpayer money would be if all 175,000 students simply stop having access to education altogether.”
The best aim of unification would be to re-direct money away from duplication of ‘back-office’ costs (such as administration, transportation, and maintenance), marketing, and fragmentation, toward improved classroom service and broader access for students to a wider range of programs. The aim is not to ‘save’ money: the aim is to make the best possible use of limited money. In education, money well-used is not a cost: it is a very wise investment.
Universal access and inclusion dictate that all the students currently being educated in separate schools would continue in school – in schools under one umbrella. All the teachers currently working in separate schools would continue to be teaching – in schools under one umbrella.
And, of course, there would be other advantages. An upcoming post on this site will address the video that was recently screened in a Red Deer Catholic Separate school, making comparison to the Holocaust.
Perhaps – hopefully – other public school jurisdictions will find their own way to join and encourage the conversation.
Dianne Macaulay’s open letter
“To the citizens of Alberta :
I have had many conversations with the community and my colleagues over the education system in Alberta since I have become a Trustee. I have a passion for education and doing what is best for students. One of the most dominant and thoughtful conversations have been around “How can we improve our system”?
I support choice within public school districts. All Alberta taxpayers pay for public education in this province and yet we have two school systems that are only for students of one religion.
I want to promote a conversation about the unification of separate with public school boards that will focus on only the issues.
At the Board meeting of the Red Deer Public School District on April 12 –
Dianne Macaulay gave notice of motion for ....
The Red Deer Public board of Trustees advocate for a unified Public School system that allows for Locally elected school boards to offer Catholic programs as well as other faith and program options
It is important to note that this initiative does not call for the abolition of Catholic programs in Alberta, but rather contemplates the potential for public school boards to grow and expand faith program offerings. This is no different than Red Deer Public operating French Immersion programs which do not challenge the existence of the constitutionally protected Francophone School boards. The Red Deer Public School Board supports programs of choice where there is a demand and if anything this would mean more choice, not less! While we are engaged in a dialogue on curriculum redesign, maybe it’s time to have the bigger question about program or system redesign. To be clear, this is the vision of one trustee until a formal vote is taken at the Board table on May 10