[caption id=”attachment_3600” align=”aligncenter” width=”300”] Dunnville Christian School (DCS) hosts a meeting with Toby Barrett, MPP and Progressive Conservative representative for the Haldimand-Norfolk riding, to discuss faith-based school funding.[/caption]
Meetings discuss faith-based funding proposal
Last week Toby Barrett, MPP and Progressive Conservative representative for the Haldimand-Norfolk riding met with faith-based school supporters to discuss the Conservatives’ proposal for faith-based schools funding.
Similar meetings are to be held across the province in the coming weeks. For more information, see the contact information below.
Tony Kamphuis, executive director of the Niagara Association for Christian Education (NACE) explains why the meetings are happening.
“We were starting to hear from a number of Conservative candidates that the people in their area that send their kids to faith-based schools seemed uncertain about what the policy meant and so they were sitting back and waiting to see how things unfold,” says Kamphuis. “They weren’t getting involved and really being supportive of the policy.”
On the other side, faith-based school supporters were saying they didn’t understand what was intended with the proposal.
“So we thought we should get these two crews together so that the candidates can see that there is support for the idea out there and so that the faith-based school supporters can see that the policy is designed to make things better for them, not be a threat.”
Last week’s meeting was held at Dunnville Christian School (DCS) with about 150 faith-based school supporters in attendance from DCS, Jarvis Christian School, Heritage Academies and Attercliffe Canadian Reformed Elementary School.
Kamphuis presented a brief history of faith-based schools funding in Ontario as well as provided a summary of each party’s stance on the issue.
He pointed out that if elected, the Conservatives would use a commission, headed by Bill Davis, to investigate the implementation of faith-based funding.
He also noted the known details of the three criteria for funding.
Barrett and Steve Elgersma, a representative of the Family Coalition Party were available to answer questions.
The definition of full funding, integration of Christian beliefs into curriculum, and important issues for Christian schools such as maintaining control of hiring, were some of the topics discussed with the representatives.
According to a report on the evening by Joel Slofstra, principal of Jarvis District Christian School, the discussion highlighted that this is an issue that probably won’t be picked up again for quite some time if it doesn’t pass this time.
“It was clear at the meeting that the justification for faith-based funding was that the current system is not fair and that it discriminates against people supporting faith-based schools other than Catholic (schools),” Slofstra reported. “Parents should have a choice in how their children are educated.”
Barrett urged supporters to get involved, not be silent, and not lose this opportunity. He suggested they take action by writing letters to candidates and newspapers, planting signs in their yards, and attending PC functions.
“From my perspective there is a lot of potential for this policy and I hope we leave no stone unturned in terms of doing or pursuing something that would be positive for Christian schools,” says Kamphuis.
For dates, times and locations of meetings in specific regions, contact:
Carol Speelman (Western Region)
Barbara Bierman (Central Region)
Tony Kamphuis (Golden Horseshoe Region)
Tracy Wiarda (Eastern Region)