Sask. government committed to spending on faith-based schools

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Sask. government committed to spending on faith-based schools

In the wake of a court ruling that said the Saskatchewan government must stop paying for non-Catholic students to attend separate schools, the education minister is firm about spending public money on faith-based education.

Don Morgan said the government believes it is important to support a variety of independent schools outside the public and Catholic school systems.

"We have an obligation to fund students in our province," Morgan told reporters. "We believe in having some options available for them. Some of those options are faith-based."

Saskatchewan is one of three provinces with a separate school system and one of five that pays for independent schools. 

The province will spend just over $27 million during the fiscal year 2016-17 for students who attend independent schools.

The majority of those schools are religious-based, whether for Seventh-day Adventist or Muslim students. Depending on the criteria they meet, the schools receive between 50 and 80 per cent of the average per-student funding ($10,990).

The Opposition says the public education system ought to be properly funded before money is diverted to independent schools.

"I think the more that we divide up education [spending], certainly means that there is less money for the public school system," said Carla Beck, the NDP's education critic.