PICKERING, Ont. - Surrounded by her classmates, nine-year-old Zeina Abu-Jurja recites some of her “environmental pet peeves.”

One pet peeve, she said, is when the television is on even if no one is watching because it’s an energy waster.

No charges pending against Catholic trustees

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Ontario's education minister says a 15-day police review into Toronto Catholic school trustee expenditures concluded that no trustees will face criminal charges.

Kathleen Wynne told The Catholic Register she's satisfied with the amount of time it took police to review trustees' expenses, which were released in a Nov. 12 audit report by Ernst & Young.

Trustees call for changes in special ed funding

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TORONTO - The underfunding of programs for special education and high needs students as well as “short-lived” declining enrolment grants are serious concerns for many Catholic school boards, says the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association.

In a Nov. 18 financial brief to Ontario Education Minister Kathleen Wynne, the association said while special education grants total almost $2.1 billion, many school boards “continue to express serious concerns about the ongoing gap between the cost of current programs and services for students and special needs and current funding levels.”

OECTA targets bullying

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Bullying should be labelled a workplace hazard to make schools safer, says a proposal made to provincial legislators by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association.

But the proposal isn’t suggesting that Catholic schools are more dangerous than any other workplace, said Elaine MacNeil, president of OECTA.

School boards choose 2009 leaders

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Most Ontario Catholic school boards have chosen their leaders to guide them into the next year, with one notable exception.

The Toronto Catholic District School Board, which has been under a provincial government-appointed supervisor since a controversy erupted over trustee spending last year, has postponed its board elections until January.

Halton's helping hands for Haiti

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{mosimage}BURLINGTON, Ont. - The children at St. Mark’s Catholic Elementary School learned a lesson about social justice and Christian love recently. It was that they should share from their abundance with their much poorer fellow students in Haiti.

The school was one of 49 in the Halton Catholic District School Board that are being introduced this fall to Helping Hands from Halton Catholic: the Solidarity-Haiti Project.

Trustee infighting derails election of board chair

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The Toronto Catholic District School Board will be without a chair and decision-making powers indefinitely until trustee infighting stops, says Ontario's education minister.

Kathleen Wynne told The Catholic Register that she supports the Jan. 28 decision of provincially appointed board supervisor Norbert Hartmann to suspend the appointment of a chair. Long-time trustee Angela Kennedy had been chosen chair, with Ann Andrachuk elected vice-chair, at a Jan. 22 meeting, but the choices were subject to Hartmann's approval.

Ontario schools will feel recession's pinch

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{mosimage}TORONTO - With the economic downturn and declining student enrolment, Ontario school boards could be facing delays in some of their program funding, says Minister of Education Kathleen Wynne.

Provincial funding for new programs could also be on hold.

Theatre last phase of St. Mike's development

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{mosimage}TORONTO - A new $10-million performing arts centre is scheduled to open at St. Michael’s College School next year.

School president Fr. Joseph Redican, C.S.B., said the 440-seat theatre would be a state-of-the-art facility and will support the school’s drama and theatre arts program. It will also serve as a venue for concerts, public speaking and debates. And the centre will have a display space for the school’s visual arts program and will be the site of lectures and conferences.

Toronto trustee guilty of conflict of interest

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{mosimage}TORONTO - An Ontario Superior Court judge has found Toronto Catholic school trustee Oliver Carroll guilty of conflict of interest charges and ordered his removal from the board.

But Carroll said he would be appealing the decision and will file a motion to stay on as trustee while the appeal is being processed.

Trustee to fight dismissal

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Toronto Catholic District School Board trustee Oliver Carroll says he will fight his dismissa l from the board.

While Carroll withdrew a motion to appeal an Ontario Superior Court decision which found him guilty of conflict of interest charges scheduled for Feb. 18, he told The Register that he would be filing an appeal of the decision within a month, along with an appeal to stay on as trustee while the court hearings take place.