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Regina Catholic schools allege funding disparity

Officials from Regina's Catholic school system say they are getting less provincial money for their students compared to the public school system.

According to separate school board chair Vicky Bonnell the difference works out to $275 per student.

The Catholic board claims it receives $8,018 per pupil from the province. It says its calculations show the public school system receives $8,293 per student.

The board's figures are based on data gleaned from a document it received from the provincial government called a Core Indicators Report.

An official from Regina's public school board declined to release financial information about its funding from the province.

If the Catholic board's figures are correct, the difference works out to a funding disparity of 3.4 per cent.

According to an August financial statement, the annual budget of the Catholic board is around $87 million.

Bonnell says the funding difference is significant, especially when it comes to making budget decisions.

"We do have to look at some very tough decisions about student programs, staffing, resources," Bonnell said. "So it will have an effect, long-term, if it's not corrected."

Officials from the provincial education ministry said they would meet with Catholic school officials to discuss the matter.

However, they said they had no plans to change how they fund local school boards.

Bonnell says a January meeting with the province did not resolve anything.

"They shuffled papers and said that, well, their numbers didn't match ours," she said.

Officials in the ministry of education say financial information on school board funding is complicated and it is not possible to make direct comparisons between systems.

"We're not able to compare budgets at this time," Helen Horsman, an assistant deputy minister in the education ministry, explained. "We're moving towards a time and using a process where we can get more accurate information, more consistent data across all the school divisons so we can compare apples to apples."

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