OCSTA Welcomes Government's Continued Focus on Education



    TORONTO, March 26 /CNW/ - "The $315 million increase in education funding
for 2008-09 is a clear recognition of education as a continuing provincial
priority," said Bernard Murray, president of the Ontario Catholic School
Trustees' Association (OCSTA).
    A number of initiatives included in the March 25 budget announcement will
have positive impact on student achievement, health and safety. Additional
funding for safe schools initiatives, student nutrition programs, at-risk
students, parenting programs, school libraries and environmental education
will help to support positive outcomes in our schools.
    OCSTA is pleased to acknowledge the province's additional investments in
support of boards' capital programs. Extension of the Good Places to Learn
initiative, recommended by the Association, as well as new funding to support
Growth and Prohibitive to Repair schools will assist boards in meeting their
outstanding capital needs.
    Outdated benchmarks remaining in the funding formula will continue to
present school boards with financial challenges, as will the negative impact
of declining enrolment. OCSTA is pleased that the government has responded
positively to our recommendations for a provincial task force on declining
enrolment, to re-examine its impact and recommend any long-term solutions. We
urge the government to proceed as quickly as possible with a comprehensive
review of the funding formula.
    While the 2008-09 budget announcement is encouraging, a significant
portion of board expenditures will arise from the outcome of current
discussions on collective agreements with teachers and support staff. We look
forward to further funding announcements regarding this issue.
    OCSTA will continue to analyze the impact of the 2008-09 budget release.
We look forward to working in cooperation with the Minister of Education to
ensure that boards have the necessary resources to meet the needs for student
success.

    The Ontario Catholic School Trustees' Association is the provincial voice
for Catholic education. Founded in 1930, OCSTA represents Catholic school
boards that collectively educate more than 600,000 students in Ontario, from
Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12.





For further information:

For further information: Sharon McMillan, Coordinator, Communications
and Media Relations, Tel: (416) 932-9460, ext. 32, Fax: (416) 932-9459,
E-mail: smcmillan@ocsta.on.ca

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Ontario Catholic School Trustees' Association

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ONTARIO BUDGET REACTION 2008

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