Toronto trustees forced to repay questionable expenses

{mosimage}TORONTO - Alcoholic drinks, Internet gaming and personalized vehicle licence plates were some of the $30,000 worth of questionable expenses charged to taxpayers by Toronto Catholic District School Board trustees, according to a Nov. 12 audit report.

The report by Ernst & Young, which did not identify trustees by name, said $914,013 of the $943,783 in trustees' total expenses from Dec. 1, 2005, to May 28, 2008, were deemed eligible. Eligible expenses included Internet connection charges, office furniture, charitable donations and advertising expenses, the report said.

Theology matters

{mosimage}TORONTO - Theology students have an important role to play in a society that continues to advocate relativism, Professor Edward J. Monahan told graduating students from the University of St. Michael’s College at its Nov. 8 convocation.

Monahan  and two other professors — William J. Smyth and Janine Langan — were awarded with honorary doctorates, the Doctor of Sacred Letters.

Hallways Of Heroes

{mosimage}During Veteran's Week (November 5 - 11) the names and pictures of Canadian soldiers who lost their lives in WWI will be displayed in the hallways of Iona Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga. Every student and staff (1200 people) will receive the name of one of these soldiers and a poppy sticker on November 10. On this day students and staff will be asked to find the name of the soldier that matches the name they were given and place the poppy sticker on it as a means of acknowledging and honouring that soldier for paying the ultimate sacrifice.

Ontario students recognized for leadership

{mosimage}TORONTO - A total of 181 students from Ontario Catholic schools were honoured at the 25th annual Father Patrick Fogarty Awards dinner Oct. 25.

Ontario needs to learn Newfoundland's lessons

{mosimage}An article in the Oct. 12 issue begins with the headline, “Silence will doom Catholic schools.” It describes the view of an Alberta constitutional lawyer, Kevin Feehan. As one who has been involved in the Ontario school question since 1962, I say, “It depends.”

If, in a year or two, Ontario Catholics get worked up so that even a few shout, “We’ll show them that Catholics won’t be pushed around,” it will make headlines and we lose our own schools. They enrol 660,000 students today. The entire system will disappear just as it did in Newfoundland in 1998.

Split-grade system needs to be reworked

{mosimage}TORONTO - The provincial cap on primary class sizes needs to be more flexible to avoid having too many split-grade classes that can cause disruptions in classrooms, say some Ontario Catholic school boards.

The Hamilton-Wentworth, London and Toronto Catholic school boards are calling for more flexibility to the policy.

Parent group calls for trustee resignations

{mosimage}TORONTO - In the wake of a long-awaited audit report of Toronto’s Catholic school board, at least six school trustees who will be repaying the  board for “inappropriate expenses” should resign, according to a Catholic parents’ group.

The Greater Toronto Catholic Parent Network also says that the twice-delayed provincial audit won’t restore public trust and confidence in the Toronto Catholic District School Board.

Catholic education has value of a pearl

{mosimage}TORONTO - Catholic education is like a “pearl of great price” which must be treasured and protected, says Hamilton Auxiliary Bishop Gerard Bergie.

“If we believe that Catholic education is a pearl of great wisdom, we need to guard it,” Bergie said in a keynote address to a packed auditorium of more than 1,300 teachers Oct. 24 at the 13th annual When Faith Meets Pedagogy conference that ran Oct. 23 to 25. The conference at Toronto’s DoubleTree Hilton was organized by the Catholic Curriculum Co-operative, which includes 17 Ontario school boards, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association and the Catholic Principals’ Council of Ontario.

Project offers poor students equal chance

{mosimage}TORONTO - When one of her Grade 1 students didn’t bring a lunch to school one day, Hamilton, Ont., principal Dorothy Spence says she started thinking about whether other students also went hungry.

Spence called the six-year-old’s mother to ask why he didn’t bring a lunch and the angry mother’s response was that she expected the child to pack his own lunch.

School boards going green

{mosimage}TORONTO - Catholic school boards in Ontario and Alberta are going green.

At least 10 environmentally friendly schools are being planned within the next two years to accommodate new students, although concerns about declining enrolment are still on the horizon.

Voicing Catholic education concerns for 70 years

{mosimage}TORONTO - Parents need a provincial voice to speak up for Catholic education, says the president of the Ontario Association of Parents in Catholic Education.

And that, says Brian Evoy, is what the OAPCE has been doing on behalf of Catholic parents for the past seven decades. The organization celebrates its 70th anniversary next year.