TORONTO, Sept. 24, 2007 (CNW) – “I speak on behalf of the 650,000 students in Catholic schools and the 2.4 million Catholic school ratepayers who support our system, when I express my deep dismay at the assault launched today by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association on Ontario’s publicly funded Catholic schools,” said Bernard Murray, president of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association.

    For over 160 years Ontario’s Catholic schools have contributed to Ontario community life in cooperation with their coterminous public boards. Catholic schools are a value-added segment of public education chosen by a million Ontario parents for the academic excellence and holistic education that are the hallmarks of this system.

    “Any attempt to remove public funding for Catholic schools in Ontario would be extremely divisive and would be vigorously opposed by the Catholic community and indeed all responsible citizens,” said Murray.

    “Our schools offer education in the Catholic faith tradition to hundreds of thousands of students who reflect Ontario’s diverse cultures and ethnic groups. Ontario’s publicly funded Catholic schools are embedded in the social structure and fabric of this province. Our distinctive education approach offers an on-going contribution not only to our students and families but to the wider provincial community.”

    The Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association is the provincial voice for Catholic education. Founded in 1930, OCSTA represents Catholic school boards that collectively educate more than 600,000 students in Ontario, from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12. (For further information: Sharon McMillan, Coordinator, Communications and Media Relations, Tel: (416) 932-9460, ext. 32, Fax: (416) 932-9459,

* Toronto Catholic District School Board denounces CCLA brief.