Catholic School Councils
What is the Catholic School Council?
Parent involvement is essential in education, and we believe that parents are the primary educators of children. All parents are welcome to participate in Catholic education as active members of a Catholic School Council (CSC).
Catholic School Councils improve student achievement and enhance the accountability of the education system to parents. A Catholic School Council makes recommendations to the school Principal and the Board on many topics, including school budget priorities, the school year calendar, extra-curricular activities, dress code, fundraising, recruitment, etc. It also submits an annual report of its activities to the Principal and the Board.
Catholic School Councils are required in all Catholic elementary and secondary schools. The size of each Catholic School Council varies, but two-thirds of its members must be Roman Catholic.
Who forms the Catholic School Council?
Catholic School Councils are composed of:
- Parents, who are elected by other parents of students enrolled at the school
- An elementary school student, who is appointed by the Principal
- A secondary school student, who is either appointed by the student council or elected by the student body
- A teacher, who is elected by other teachers
- A support staff member, who is elected by other support staff
- The parish priest or designate
- The school Principal, who is not entitled to vote
Catholic School Councils cannot include:
he or she is not employed at the school but is employed
elsewhere by the Board, unless he or she takes reasonable
steps to inform people qualified to vote in the election of
parent members of that employment.
- Board Trustees
- Supervisory Board officers
How does the election work?
An election committee, formed by the Principal, a staff member, and a parent, oversees the election process. The staff member and the parent from the election committee cannot be running for election. The election is held within the first 30 days of the school year.
The committee receives nominations for the parent seats, and nomination forms must have two other parent signatures. A list of candidates and their biographies are made available to the community. Voting is conducted by secret ballot.
No individual campaign material may be distributed in the school, and no school resources can be used to support individual candidates.
How many parent seats are available?
It depends on the number of community and school members. The number of available parent seats on the council must be a majority. The election committee estimates the number of community-held seats to determine a majority number of parent seats available.
What is the term of office?
Elected or appointed members of the CSC hold office from the date elected or appointed, to the date of the first meeting after the next year's election.
How often does the Catholic School Council meet?
The first meeting of the Catholic School Council must be held within the first 35 days of the school year after the election. The date is set by the school Principal. A Catholic School Council meets at least four times during the school year.
To hold a meeting, a majority of the current members and the Principal or designate must be present. A majority of the council members present must be parent members.
What is the Code of Ethics for a Catholic School Council member?
A member of the Catholic School Council will:
- Consider the best interests of all students
- Be guided by the school and Board mission statements
- Act within the limits of the roles and responsibilities of a school council, as identified by the school operating guidelines, the Board, and the Ontario Ministry of Education
- Become familiar with school policies and operating practices and act in accordance
- Maintain the highest standards of integrity
- Recognize and respect the personal integrity of each member of the school community
- Treat all other members with respect and allow for diverse opinions to be shared without interruption
- Encourage a positive environment in which individual contributions are encouraged and valued
- Acknowledge democratic principles and accept the consensus of the council
- Respect the confidential nature of some school business and respect limitations on the operation of the school council
- Not disclose confidential information
- Limit discussions at school council meetings to matters of concern to the school community as a whole
- Use established communication channels when questions or concerns arise
- Promote high standards of ethical practice within the school community
- Declare any conflict of interest
- Not accept any payment or benefit financially through school council involvement
Where can I find additional resources?
Read the Board's Catholic School Council Policy and Administrative Procedure.
See the list of Catholic School Council Chairs.
See the list of OAPCE representatives.
View the Catholic School Council's binder contents
The Ontario Association for Parents in Catholic Education website maintains many of its own resources.
Read the Ontario Ministry of Education's "School Councils: A Guide for Members."