Ministry of Education offers money but amount barely keeps up with inflation

By Kirk Winter

The Ministry of Education will provide nearly $26 billion to all school boards for the coming year — but it’s an amount that barely keeps pace with inflation.

The breakdown is $12,686 for every student currently enrolled in publicly funded schools. Locally Trillium Lakelands is to receive $207 million and Peterborough Victoria Northumberland Clarington Catholic will receive $186 million.

In a media release the provincial government notes expenditures are the most money per student ever invested in education; however, the increases from $12,246 per student in 2019 to $12,525 in 2020 to $12,686 in 2021 are barely keeping pace with inflation over the same time period.

According to Sam Hammond, president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, “when you look at the funds required pay for utility increases and other inflation-impacted costs, Ontario schools will be forced to operate with less funding that they had this year. Saying there is a growth in funding of 2.2 per cent is a gross exaggeration.”

“The Ford government has repeatedly refused to make the real investments required to keep schools open safely and sustainably,” ETFO shares in the same press release. “ETFO firmly believes that in-person instruction is the best and most equitable experience for students, but it must be done safely.”

Liz Stuart, president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Federation added her voice to those upset about the funding announcement when she took to social media and wrote, “Lecce’s announcement was smoke & mirrors. Lots of talk about new resources, but at the end of the day continued cuts & underfunding of public education & a push to keep kids in (cheaper) permanent online classes.”

TLDSB director of education, Wes Hahn, has promised trustees a far clearer picture of what next year will look like at the regular meeting of the board in May. Senior staff now have the data to do just that.

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