Why Parents Choose Catholic Education

Why Parents Choose Catholic Education

Catholic schools offer parents in Ontario a broad set of options that support their goals and hopes for their children. Options are also offered in the French-language and English public school systems. Together, this variety of educational approaches helps to address the diverse needs and aspirations of Ontario parents and improves the quality to all of the systems. 
  • Ontario’s Catholic schools promote caring communities, the dignity of all persons and social justice. Our schools are well known for their tradition of academic and co-curricular excellence and commitment to the marginalized and disadvantaged.
  • More than 1 million parents in Ontario choose Catholic schools. This kind of “choice” within our publicly funded education system benefits the students in all four systems.
  • In fact, parents of various faiths and beliefs choose Catholic schools because of the inclusive, Christ centered learning environment. They value the sense of community and high standards that exist in Catholic schools. Together, Catholic elementary schools and Catholic high schools represent two-thirds of the top performing schools in Ontario, according to a 2012 C.D. Howe Study.
  • We serve the needs and aspirations of 2.3 million Catholic school ratepayers and we educate approximately 600,000 students each year. Throughout its history, Catholic Schools have been an important part of the fabric of our society.
  • All three major political parties in this province are on record as strongly supporting Ontario’s publicly funded Catholic schools.
  • Those who advocate for the elimination of Catholic school boards never mention the massive disruption, the high cost and chaos that would impact students, parents, staff and communities.
  •  Such chaos would be unjustified as there would be little to no savings realized by the elimination of Catholic schools.
  • Education funding in Ontario is for the most part per-pupil based so the only way to achieve significant savings would be to have fewer students and/or to close schools.
  • We only have to look at our experience with amalgamation in the municipal and school boards sector to see that it does not realize cost savings.
  • Between 1998 and 2001, the cost of amalgamation was $1.1 Billion.
  • Over that four-year time span, the Ministry spent $23M on infrastructure alone to support amalgamation – through the Education Improvement Commission (EIC).
  • The number of staff is based on regulation and/or collective agreements.
  • We would still need the same number of teachers and the same amount of support staff in an amalgamated model. Even theoretical savings in administration are dubious – the result would be enormous jurisdictions, which would necessitate divisions and subdivisions to ensure families do not lose access.
  • Other costs associated with amalgamation include those associated with reassigning thousands of students and employees, redrawing district maps, transferring capital commitments, consolidating offices, reconciling contracts, etc.
  • Beyond the price tag, trying to amalgamate would create havoc for students – and not just those currently in Catholic schools. Many families would experience disruption. Even students who don’t switch schools would face tremendous upheaval – teachers moving, friends and classmates gone, massive changes in their day-to-day routines.
  • School Boards are committed to being as effective and efficient as possible and to cooperate in a number of areas including:

- Transportation consortia

- Purchasing consortia

- Curriculum co-operatives

- Ontario Education Services Corporation (OESC) representing all four trustees’ associations in Central Bargaining and other areas

These partnerships save Ontario’s taxpayers millions of dollars each year.