A judge says an Alberta private school and home-schooling agency that was shut down by the province over allegations of misspending can continue operating temporarily, but without government money.
The decision that affects about 3,500 home-schooled students came after a Court of Queen’s Bench hearing in Grande Prairie.
Trinity Christian School Association and the Wisdom Home Schooling Society want a judge to reverse a move by the NDP government last month that pulled their funding and accreditation.
Justice E.J. Simpson said his decision Friday will protect both students and taxpayers pending the outcome of a hearing set for Jan. 5.
Jay Cameron, a spokesman for Trinity, said he is pleased with the ruling.
“It ensures that the parents and the students, who have been tremendously disrupted by this ill-considered decision, will continue to have a school to go to, until Jan. 5 at the least,” he said outside of court.
Education Minister David Eggen said it is important to note that Friday’s ruling was not a final determination on the merits of the case.
“We stand behind the actions that we have taken to date based on the evidence made public in the audit,” Eggen said in a release.
“Our priority, as always, is our students and ensuring that every public dollar is spent to ensure they are getting a high-quality education.”
Trinity and Wisdom oversee about one-third of all home-schooled students in Alberta.
The province pulled $5-million a year in funding after a report cited public money being used for lavish parties, alcohol, gift cards, funeral expenses and babysitting.
The report said the senior ranks of both Trinity and Wisdom were essentially made up of two families. It said those families, whose names were not made public, received $2.8-million in compensation over the last three years.
Wisdom and Trinity deny the allegations.Report Typo/Error