Toronto School Board issues reveal flaws in how government is funding education, assessing school closures

TORONTO, Feb. 12, 2015 /CNW/ - The current issues facing the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) are revealing gaps in how the provincial government is funding education and supporting community services across the province, according to the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO).

"The provincial guidelines governing school closures require school boards to consider community use of schools. It would be best if the Ministry of Education released guidelines for community use so that these can inform the conversation," said ETFO president Sam Hammond.

A study released this week by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) indicates that government cost estimates of keeping schools open are flawed because the government sets arbitrary benchmark allocations for items like special education rather than calculations based on actual need. It also sets arbitrary per-student space allocations while ignoring actual school facilities that are used for adult learners, child-care services and other community uses.

The CCPA study indicates there is a persistent gap between the level of funding provided by the provincial government and the level required to maintain programs. This has sunk boards such as the TDSB into deeper debt and left trustees to grapple with deficits.

"The school closure issue in Toronto and elsewhere brings to the fore the long-standing failure of the government to address education funding cuts made during the Harris years," said Hammond.

SOURCE Canadian Teachers' Federation

For further information: Valerie Dugale, ETFO Media Relations: Cell: 416-948-0195, vdugale@etfo.org

RELATED LINKS
http://www.ctf-fce.ca

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