Teacher uncertainty has students eyeing Catholic schools
Published Wednesday, January 9, 2013 5:35PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 9, 2013 6:24PM EST
After-school sports, clubs and arts programs have been among the victims of job action from teachers unhappy with the provincial government and Bill 115.
But Catholic schools, which signed new bargaining agreements with the province last summer, continue to offer extracurriculars – and that has some students thinking about jumping ship.
“I truly want to transfer to a Catholic school so I can play sports,” Eastwood Collegiate Grade 9 student Chantel Papp tells CTV.
“There’s really nothing to do here now, school’s really boring. All of our extracurriculars are taken away.”
It’s not quite that simple for volleyball player Papp and others looking to switch schools for sports. The Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations says any student who switches boards must wait one year before joining a team in the new board, unless they go through an appeals process first.
Some teachers are still volunteering their time with teams, but public schools haven’t taken part in competitive play since before the Christmas break.
The Waterloo Catholic District School Board sent out a tweet Tuesday saying prospective Catholic board high school students do not need to be Catholic themselves.
Board spokesperson John Shewchuk says the tweet was intended to inform parents, not to encourage students to switch.
“In no way, shape or form are we trying to take advantage of any unfortunate things that may be happening at the public schools, but we are getting questions and we have to make sure people know what it is that a Catholic school is all about,” he says.
While students don’t need to be Catholic to attend Catholic board high schools, all students at those schools are required to take one religion course per year.
At the Waterloo Region District School Board, executive superintendent Mark Schinkel says he hopes parents and students will look beyond the current negotiating difficulties when considering their education.
“We hope that parents and students will take a long-term view as they make these decisions, and we believe we have been able to provide a world class, top-quality educational program for our students,” he says.
The Ontario Liberals reached an agreement with the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association on Thursday July 5.
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