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Public Schools of Saskatchewan planning to take Theodore school decision to Supreme Court
St. Theodore Roman Catholic School is at the centre of an appeal hitting Provincial Court this week.
REGINA -- Public Schools of Saskatchewan says it will take a decision on whether or not the province can fund non-Catholic students attending Catholic schools to the Supreme Court.
On March 25, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal unanimously overturned an April 2017 decision that funding non-Catholic students to go to Catholic schools was unconstitutional.
The case dates back to 2003, when Theodore, Sask.'s public school closed its doors due to declining enrolment. The Yorkdale School Division, now the Good Spirit School Division, planned to bus students 17 kilometres to Springside.
In response, a local group created its own Catholic school division and opened St. Theodore Roman Catholic School. That move prompted the Good Spirit School Division to launch a lawsuit claiming the school was only created to prevent students from having to travel to a neighbouring town.
“For more than 15 years, we have pursued every avenue possible, including mediation with government and the organization representing Catholic school boards, to clarify the mandate of separate schools in this province,” Colleen MacPherson, chair of Public Schools of Saskatchewan, said in a news release. “We were forced into the courts and now, with two very different decisions, the Supreme Court of Canada must be the final arbiter.”
Education Minister Gordon Wyant said he respects the right of Public Schools of Saskatchewan to appeal last month’s decision.
“We recognize that the overall outcome of this issue is important to the delivery of education in Saskatchewan, and await the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision on whether they will hear the case,” he said in an emailed statement to CTV News Regina.
Three provinces — Saskatchewan, Albert and Ontario — fund public and separate school systems. Public Schools of Saskatchewan said the case has national importance, which is why it’s taking the decision to the Supreme Court.
Public Schools of Saskatchewan represents 15 public school boards in the province.
With files from The Canadian Press