OPSBA Welcomes Stable Funding for Ontario Students



    TORONTO, March 25 /CNW/ - The Ontario Public School Boards' Association
views today's budget announcement related to 2008-2009 education funding as
positive evidence of the provincial government's solid commitment to the value
of a strong publicly funded education system. This funding continues to
provide very direct supports for student achievement through strong
initiatives in literacy and numeracy, secondary student success initiatives
and smaller primary class sizes.
    The provincial government's announced increase in education funding of
$315 million represents a 24% increase in investment in student learning over
2003-04 levels. The budget reflects increased funding in Special Education and
ESL as well as new funding to support Aboriginal education initiatives,
at-risk students, safe schools, school libraries, environmental education,
parenting and nutrition programs. Today's budget announcement also provides
welcome news on investment in school building infrastructure, an essential
factor in creating positive learning environments for students.
    While education funding has been moving in a direction that recognizes
the real costs of education delivery, there is more work to be done on
aligning benchmarks with current costs. OPSBA looks to the promised
comprehensive review of the funding formula to achieve a strong alignment in
time for the 2010 school year. A key aspect of this review is the expanding
effect that declining enrolment is having on Ontario schools and their goals
for student achievement. The announcement that a working group will be
established to explore strategies to help boards dealing with these
demographic shifts is a welcome move. OPSBA is hopeful that this working group
will look at long-term solutions and, in the broad interest of maintaining
vibrant communities, involve sectors beyond education.
    An obvious focus of attention for school boards this year is the renewal
of collective agreements with teachers and support staff. OPSBA is pleased
with the government's commitment to facilitate the conditions that will
support labour peace and student achievement over the course of the next four
years.
    OPSBA looks forward to the specific education funding details set out in
the Grants for Student Needs that are expected to be announced tomorrow.





For further information:

For further information: Jeff Sprang, OPSBA Communications, (416)
340-2540


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