Saskatchewan is a trail blazer in its approach to independent schools. That’s the feeling of the President of an independent Christian school association in Ontario. Deani Van Pelt says extending partial funding to about two-thirds of the province’s independent schools in 2012 improved the delivery of education on several levels. In addition to giving parents more choice, Van Pelt says it enhanced stability, credibility, professional development and transparency. To get the funding the independent schools had to be non-profit, adhere to provincial curriculum, allow ministry supervision and hire certified teachers. Van Pelt points out partially funding these schools saved the Education Ministry money. According to Van Pelt, eastern officials fear a mass exodus out of the public systems, but she claims that hasn’t been the case in Saskatchewan. The most recent figures indicate about 95-percent of Saskatchewan students remain in the fully-funded public and Catholic school systems. About 70-percent of Saskatchewan’s partially-funded independent schools are based on religion with about half offering a specialty like Montessori.