Christian schools provide a public benefit by graduating well-educated students and for that reason they should be receiving public funds, says Principal Bob Moore.
Moore of John Calvin Christian School in Guelph says he supports the concept of the proposed faith-based schools funding plan of the Progressive Conservatives.
He points to the Edmonton funding model in which faith-based schools must align themselves with a public school board in order to receive full funding.
“To the extent that it’s working with our sister schools out there, I’m interested in exploring the possibilities,” he says.
Positives of the proposed plan include opening the way for families who agree with the principles of Christian schools but can’t afford the tuition to be able to attend.
Areas of potential concern, he says, include losing control of hiring as well as possible issues with curriculum.
“We understand the need to use the government (curriculum) outline, but we would certainly want the freedom to do it from our perspective.”
If the schools could get the guarantees they want in those areas, he sees potential for the plan.
“In terms of academic standards and student codes of conduct, we have nothing to be afraid of,” he says. “So I think we should let it go forward on that basis.”
Principal Lauralynn Mercer of Muskoka Christian School agrees government funding would benefit the school and the families it serves.
“Being a small school in an area where income is not high it would certainly help out both our families and ourselves so that’s why we think it would be a great asset,” says Mercer.
She says she doesn’t expect her school to have any trouble meeting the necessary standards, including hiring accredited teachers, complying with the Ministry of Education curriculum, and completing certain standardized tests.
She also believes the Christian education component of the school could be satisfactorily continued.
“I believe with (the proposed) government funding … it would not interfere with our faith-based curriculum. We would still be able to choose what we want to teach as long as it would meet Ministry standards.”