{mosimage}TORONTO - Catholic school boards should invest adequate resources into high school chaplaincy, says the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In a pastoral letter issued this month, the conference said while it recognizes the budgetary constraints that school boards face, chaplaincy is too important to be cut.

Members sought for Toronto Catholic District School Board's advisory committee

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The Toronto Catholic District School Board is creating a new community advisory committee.

The board is calling for nominations to the committee “to enhance opportunities to provide input and advice to the supervision team.”

It alluded to provincially appointed supervisor Norbert Hartmann’s Aug. 26 report entitled “Strengthening Public Trust and Confidence ” which had mentioned this committee. 

Equitable financing sought for Ontario schoool extracurricular activities

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{mosimage}TORONTO  - The Ontario Student Trustees’ Association says students don’t have equal access to after-school activities in the province.

In a January 2009 report called “Equitable Education? The Cost of Extra-curriculars in Ontario’s Schools,” the association recommended that the provincial government and school boards adopt a standardized fee system in Ontario and address the lack of access to after-school activities by students who can’t afford to participate.

“A substantial part of education is neither free nor equitable. The rich receive the benefit of experience while the poor receive a no-frills education; the wealthy can afford to participate in extracurricular activities while the poor cannot,” the report said.

$600 million pledged for Ontario schools

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{mosimage}TORONTO - It’s a $50-million cut for computers and textbooks, but $600 million more for Ontario’s publicly funded school boards next year.

 Although declining enrolment and the economic downturn are leading to cuts in computer and textbook funding, Catholic education groups say students will benefit from the Ontario government’s commitment, announced in the March 26 budget, to more funding for public schools.

“These are difficult economic times for all sectors and I appreciate the steps the government has taken to maintain its support for effective initiatives around numeracy, literacy and secondary student success,” said Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association president Paula Peroni.

Earth Hour celebrated in Toronto area schools

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Catholic schools in the Toronto area joined millions of people worldwide in turning off their lights for Earth Hour March 27, but for many, the practice is a daily routine.

In the York Catholic District School Board, 18 elementary schools have been monitoring their energy consumption by classroom, with students rushing to turn off lights, computers and other appliances when a special warning LED “Save Energy” sign warns them of over-usage. The initiative is part of the board’s Eco Champion program launched last year.

“So far these schools have saved 10 per cent of their total consumption on a yearly basis,” said Norman Vezina, the board’s senior manager of environmental services. “It’s amazing the impact they’ve had — you walk into (one of those) schools and you can’t leave a light on because students are chastising you.”

Mary Ann Robillard chosen as Toronto Catholic School Board's newest trustee

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The Toronto Catholic District School Board has a new trustee but the same old problem, says a Toronto Catholic parents group.

Murielle Boudreau, chair of the Greater Toronto Catholic Parent Network, says appointing Mary Ann Robillard, a former trustee and one-time assistant to Oliver Carroll, to the seat vacated by Carroll is like appointing her old boss.

Toronto Catholic District School Board budget cuts for special ed programs

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Close to 6,000 students enrolled in the Toronto Catholic District School Board’s special education programs will suffer from the upcoming reassignment of 67 teachers, says the head of the teachers’ union.

“How can you remove 67 teachers and not expect it to have a detrimental impact on the neediest students?” said Anthony Bellissimo, president of the Toronto Elementary Catholic Teachers , adding there is a waiting list to get needy students into special education classes.

Toronto Catholic parent group seeks school supervisor’s removal

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The chair of a Toronto Catholic parent group says she plans to file a complaint with Ontario’s ombudsman over the potential conflict-of-interest position of the provincially appointed supervisor for the Toronto Catholic District School Board.

In a letter to Education Minister Kathleen Wynne, Murielle Boudreau of the Greater Toronto Parent Network wrote that Norbert Hartmann “is usually in a conflict-of-interest situation whenever he presides over many aspects of the administration of the board” as his wife and daughter are Toronto Catholic school teachers.

Parent groups, unions upset at Ontario Education ministry’s school finder web site

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{mosimage}TORONTO -It’s “discriminatory,” “demoralizing” and should be taken down.

At least that’s what an Ontario Catholic parent group is saying about a new government web site called “School Information Finder.

Brian Evoy, president of the Ontario Association of Parents in Catholic Education , said the web site allows parents to choose schools based upon some discriminating indicators such as the percentage of students from lower-income families and those who don’t speak English as a first language. Provincial test scores are also a criteria.

Ontario Trustees to meet May 7-9

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Catholic faith plays a key role in student success, says American education researcher Fr. Ronald Nuzzi.

Nuzzi, director of the University of Notre Dame University’s Alliance for Catholic Education, will be the keynote speaker at the 79th annual conference of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association. The conference’s main theme is “Catholic Education — Good News for All.” It is scheduled from May 7 to 9 in Toronto.

Former Toronto Catholic District School Board trustee Oliver Carroll must pay for legal fees

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{mosimage}TORONTO - A judge has ordered former Toronto Catholic District School Board trustee Oliver Carroll to pay close to $50,000 to help cover legal fees of the ratepayer who brought conflict-of-interest charges against him.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Jane Kelly ruled on April 15 that Carroll must pay $46,420 within six months. The amount will cover some of the legal costs of Catholic ratepayer Michael Baillargeon who brought the charges against Carroll.