Sask. Catholic schools think there's a 'very good chance of winning' court appeal

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'Troubling overreaction': Sask. law prof. questions use of notwithstanding clause for Catholic school ruling

'Troubling overreaction': Sask. law prof. questions use of notwithstanding clause for Catholic school ruling

Catholic school board officials are appealing a court ruling that would stop funding to all non-Catholic students in their system.

The decision to appeal was unanimous from boards across the province, said former Saskatchewan Catholic School Boards Association president Tom Fortosky.

"We think we have a very good chance of winning this case," Fortosky told reporters at a news conference Friday morning in Saskatoon.

Last week, a Court of Queen's Bench judge ruled the provincial government must stop paying for non-Catholic students to attend Catholic schools in Saskatchewan.

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The announcement caused waves across the province. Education Minister Don Morgan said some schools could become overcrowded, while other schools would see vastly reduced numbers of students. Premier Brad Wall also sided with the Catholic officials.

Fortosky said the association's legal team reviewed the case and believes the judge erred in several ways. They believe the decision amounts to discrimination.

The constitution provides for an education system for Catholics. Fortosky said this right extends to funding for non-Catholics who want to attend. He said a second system is better for everyone.

"This benefits the broader community as more parents have had the opportunity to exercise parental choice and choose a faith-based education for their children," he said.

However, it's still unclear how many students this would affect. Fortosky was asked several times about the size of the non-Catholic population in Catholic schools. He said it "depends on who you define as Catholic."

The appeal has not yet been filed, but will be before the 30-day window expires, he said.