REGINA — Regina Roman Catholic ratepayer Judy Corkery doesn’t like the idea of the school division being part of a Military Reserve training option for some of its students. A motion she offered at the Feb. 2 Annual General Meeting passed 6-2 that the board inform the provincial government it doesn’t want the program and instead offer a Peace Studies Program. She said military training is contrary to Catholic social teachings that call for promotion of human dignity and peacemaking.
The Military Reserve program was accepted by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education, then offered by the military to Regina Catholic and Regina Public school
boards. It is open to a limited number of Grades 11 and 12 students.
Ten students from Regina Catholic and seven from Regina Public are enrolled. It is unique in Canada in that it offers two class credits if completed successfully. Those accepted take a class taught by the military once a week at the Regina Armoury.
Students are not paid for the class but are paid for the regular Reserve training taken after class and on weekends. Students also have the option to apply for summer employment with the Reserves. Students could earn about $2,000 for the year and more if hired during the summer.
It’s voluntary and they are not required to join the Reserves upon graduation from high school. The class curriculum was vetted by both school boards to ensure conformation with each division’s goals and visions.
Trustee Vicky Bonnell explained the program is not for everyone but is like other optional programs offered by the board. “It will teach leadership, goal setting, first aid and other subjects,” said Bonnell. And, she added, Reserves are there in time of need like floods and disasters. “They give of themselves to help others,” said Bonnell.
Another motion offered by ratepayer Grace Jasper to hold a public meeting to discuss the impact of military training in high schools was defeated 8-6.
The meeting unanimously passed a motion offered by Jackie Christianson to refer a suggestion to fly the Treaty Four Flag at all Catholic schools to the Division’s Circle of Voices committee for an opinion.
“It’s a matter of respect,” said Christianson. “We are all treaty people.” The committee membership is composed of Aboriginals, elders and trustees.
Ratepayers attending the meeting remain concerned about the use of P3s to build schools and passed a motion 6-0 that the division ask the Saskatchewan Auditor General to review the proposal.
None of the motions are legally binding on the board of trustees. Board chair Rob Bresciani said the motions would be brought to the board for discussion and the board would decide what, if anything, to do with them.
The meeting also approved the annual report, including the audited financial report. Director of Education Rob Currie said the division’s 30 schools have a student population of 10,928 — 500 more than projected. He also noted that student achievements are consistently higher than the provincial average.