Real Q&A: OCDSB or OCSB?

In the Real Q&A series, John real answers real questions about Ottawa real estate.


I’m moving to Ottawa, and I was wondering what are your opinions/perspectives for Ottawa Carleton Public Schools Boards compared to the Ottawa Catholic School Boards? I’ve done my own research and have looked into the 2 school boards and the few schools around the area, but always worth hearing what other’s perspectives and experiences are like.


Funding for the school board is determined by the number of students enrolled. The boards receive ~$12,000/student. However, I suspect the OCSB has lower per-student operating costs: Catholic schools began receiving public funding in the late 1980s. Once public funds were available, the Catholic school boards began replacing their schools and building new ones. Consequently, the OCSB facilities tend to be newer than the OCDSB facilities. For that reason, it seems likely that the public board spends a greater portion of its budget on up-keep than the OCSB does. Additionally, from my experience in contracting, the OCSB seemed to be the best managed of the four boards. Better management over a shorter period would mean less money spent servicing previous sub-optimal managerial decisions. Whatever the reasons, the Catholic board has newer facilities, and seems to have a larger per-student discretionary budget.

Spirituality, religion, and ethics are a part of the Catholic curriculum. Those classes have a Catholic angle. However, non-Catholic parents of children enrolled in Catholic schools don’t seem bothered by the content of those classes, and many seem to appreciate the ethical decision making lessons. They do teach students why the Catholic Church is pro-life and why it holds its views about marriage. To the best of my knowledge, that is not taught dogmatically, but presented as a consequence of more-fundamental Catholic beliefs. Having said that, the OCSB has reason to keep optics in mind when describing its curriculum, and most parents who would take issue with the Catholic curriculum probably enroll their children in the public school board. Students at OCSB schools also learn about other religions. From conversations I’ve had, it seems like the curriculum gives other religions a fair shake.

Overall, schools in the Catholic board slightly outperform schools in the public board.

Both boards make certain education options available to gifted, and special-needs, students. However, the public board offers a wider set of options.

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