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Edmonton public schools should not offer Catholic programming: poll

A Mainstreet Postmedia poll shows an overwhelming number of respondents don't want the public school system to offer Catholic programming in Edmonton. File/Global News

A new survey shows an overwhelming number of respondents don’t want the Edmonton Public School Board to offer Catholic programming, an idea floated recently in a blog post by outgoing school board chair Michael Janz.

READ MORE:Edmonton Public School Board chair seeks provincial approval to offer Catholic programs

The Mainstreet Postmedia poll shows just 11 per cent of respondents believe the public school board should offer Catholic programming, 63 per cent said no, while 26 per cent weren’t sure whether or not it should be allowed.

The results are consistent throughout most age ranges, except for those over the age of 65, where 24 per cent believe the public school board should offer Catholic instruction parallel to the Catholic board.

“One thing Edmontonians are decided on is that they do not believe Catholic education should be offered in public schools,”said Quito Maggi, president of Mainstreet Research.”This would appear to be a bridge too far.”

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At the time Janz’s blog was posted it was news to Education Minister David Eggen.

“We have a Catholic School Board that’s doing a fine job of educating students right across the province so it seems a bit redundant,” Eggen said in early February.

READ MORE: Edmonton Public urges Alberta NDP to stop public funding of private schools

Edmontonians were divided when it came to whether or not the Catholic school board should still receive public funds, but there’s a definite difference when it comes to younger and older voters.

“We asked Edmontonians if funding of Catholic education should continue,” said Maggi.”A majority, 51 per cent say it should but that number drops to 41 per cent among those 18-34 and 47 per cent for those 35-49. Respondents over the age of 50 registered their support for ongoing funding of Catholic education in the mid-60s.”

There was also a large number of Edmontonians who had no opinion on the subject. Overall, 18 per cent said they weren’t sure if only the public school board should be funded.

Mainstreet surveyed 732 Edmontonians of voting age. The margin of error for survey results is ± 3.62 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

With files from Caley Ramsay, Global News.

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