The Roman Catholic organizations which govern the separate school system, such as possibly the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association, for reasons of political clout, are sensitive to the number of Roman Catholic parents involved with the students in their schools. So to boost the numbers, and the perceived clout, they insist, when certain conditions are met, that a Separate School Support Lease be signed. On the pages from CRIPE newsletter for Fall 2010, accessed from the link below, the story is told.
Separate School Support Lease
Before significant changes were made, public and separate schools were partially financed by local property taxes, each board setting its own mil rates. Among the information on property tax assessment forms is a check box for ratepayers to show which school board the owner or tenant of the property is eligible to support.
Presently, the mil rates for each board are the same, and the dollars for both English systems are topped up by public funds to ensure that a minimum of some determined amount goes toward the education of each student in the province. So today, school support, as far as dollars are concerned, means nothing.
School “support” now political
School support now just identifies Roman Catholics as eligible to vote for separate-school trustees and also provides a count of RCs in the province for political lobbying purposes – the main reason why separate boards want all RCs to check off their school support as “separate”.
From the Education Act, “1. Interpretation, other general matters”
an “English-language Roman Catholic board supporter means a Roman Catholic,
(a) who is shown as an English-language Roman Catholic board supporter on the school support list … or
(b) who is declared to be an English-language Roman Catholic board supporter as a result of a final decision rendered in proceedings commenced under the Assessment Act, and includes his or her Roman Catholic spouse;” (emphasis added in bold.)
Getting around the law
To get around the law which requires that both members of a couple be Roman Catholic to be a separate school “supporter”, a lease can be signed.
The lease form for the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board includes the wording: “The parties hereto agree that the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board or their representative shall be the agent for school support. The parties hereto agree that this lease will not be registered.”
A separate explanation form is supplied as follows:
“Provincial legislation states that only Catholics may be Separate School Supporters. In cases of mixed ownership or tenancy, (one party is Catholic, one party is non-Catholic), the educational portion of property taxes are automatically directed to the support of Public Schools. In order for the educational taxes to be directed to the support of Separate Schools, a SEPARATE SCHOOL LEASE is required in addition to the Application for Direction of School Support form.”
“Due to legislation the non-Catholic party will remain a Public School Elector only. On enumeration forms from the Government of Ontario your records will show the Catholic owner/tenant as a sole tenant of your home and the non-Catholic owner/tenant as a spouse. This is strictly for school support reasons and does not affect your ownership or tenancy in any way.”
The lease contradicts the Education Act definition of an RC school supporter as one which “…includes his or her Roman Catholic spouse.”
A phone call to MPAC, the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, to question the “School Board Support” check boxes on property assessment forms resulted in an offer to provide the caller with a Separate School Support Lease, see link below. A covering letter stated:
“Please find attached a Separate School Support Lease. In order for your Education Taxes to be directed to the English Separate School Board, an owner must be Roman Catholic. If one owner is Roman Catholic and the other is not, but both agree to support the Separate School Board, then a Separate School Support Lease is required.”
Promotion of the lease by MPAC appears to make this government body an agent for the Roman Catholic church.
So are we, so Google “Ontario Education Act” and see sections 1. and 236 to 239.
Phone MPAC at 1-866-296-6722
See pdf copy of the “Separate School Support Lease”