Alberta Christian home-schooling group vows to fight government over money questions
Administrators tell families not to follow province’s advice to enrol in other schools
Officials in charge of an unaccredited home-schooling organization in Alberta are telling parents not to follow the government's advice to seek education elsewhere, as they prepare to oppose accusations of financial misdealings that led the province to intervene.
Education Minister David Eggen this week stripped the Trinity Christian School Association of its registration and accreditation over allegations of questionable spending and conflicts of interest.
Trinity contracted a third-party company called Wisdom Home-Schooling, using much of its allotted taxpayer money. The government said Wisdom was never registered or accredited as an education institution.
The Government has never had a legal relationship with Wisdom and Wisdom has never received accreditation.- Jeremy Nolais, Education ministry spokesperson
"Home-educating parents impacted by the decision related to Trinity Christian School Association do need to register with a new school authority to ensure they can receive the reimbursements they are entitled to," Eggen said in an emailed statement.
Wisdom fired back Thursday — asking parents to stick with their school association and saying a lawyer has been hired to oppose the province's intervention. The organization issued a statement to its home-schooling families that said Wisdom's use of funds on behalf of Trinity was neither illegal or deceptive.
"We request that the families who have trusted us for so many years await the intervention of the Courts prior to taking steps to find new placements for their students," the statement said.
No legal relationship
Education ministry spokesperson Jeremy Nolais said the department had received no notice of any legal action from Wisdom as of Thursday evening. In another email, he echoed Eggen's urging for parents to register elsewhere.
"The Government has never had a legal relationship with Wisdom and Wisdom has never received accreditation," he wrote.
"Trinity [Christian School Association] was to employ facilitators to oversee the educational programming and there are concerns with financial irregularities and accountability with the bulk of funding being flowed to Wisdom."
The closure of the Trinity Christian association affects 13 classroom students in Cold Lake and another 3,500 home-schooled students across the province — about 30 per cent of all home-schooled children in Alberta.
Alberta Education's independent government auditors first started looking into suspected problems at Trinity in June 2016. They sent investigators to the school's headquarters in Cold Lake In July.
The government has said the auditors' ensuing report, delivered a couple weeks ago, showed evidence of financial irregularities that raised questions.
The report alleged that last year, for example, 90 per cent of the funding designated for Trinity went to Wisdom — without government oversight.
Calls to Wisdom Home Schooling were not returned.