Catholic board moves forward on French Immersion

The Northwest Catholic District School Board established a mandate for its new French Immersion committee at its regular monthly meeting Tuesday night.
The new committee has been charged to “recommend to the [board] strategies to maintain the viability of the French Immersion program by a). reviewing existing reports and practices; and, b). considering options for promotion.”
The committee—made up of trustees, staff, and parents—will have its first meeting next week.
The board agreed to create the committee to examine its French Immersion program and policies after low enrolment over the last two years threatened its survival.
The board currently offers French Immersion beginning in senior kindergarten through to Grade 8. Students also have the option of continuing in the program at Fort Frances High School.
Also at Tuesday night’s meeting, the board discussed the issue of educational field trips.
Some trustees had been approached by parents who were disappointed their children in Grade 8 would not have the option of taking a school trip to Toronto this year.
The board agreed it is up to the teachers and principals to make that decision, and that it could not interfere in the matter.
In other news, the board is reminding all Catholic ratepayers to check their property assessment notices, or with their landlords, to ensure they are registered as Catholic school supporters.
Board chair Gerry Rousseau noted if a family moves, their designation is automatically defaulted to that of a public school supporter unless otherwise specified.
All Roman Catholics—whether they rent or own, and whether they have children or not—have the right to be designated as Catholic school supporters.
This allows them to vote in their local Catholic school board elections and determines the number of trustees to be elected.
It also is the basis of attendance rights for admission into Catholic schools and supports the board’s population projections, which affect funding.
Lastly, the board reviewed its preliminary variance report for the 2004/05 year.
Superintendent of Business Chris Howarth said the board likely would see a deficit once final year-end adjustments are made.
“At this point, I can’t accurately estimate the size of the deficit,” he told trustees.