New education funding takes initial steps to address real funding concerns

    TORONTO, March 19 /CNW/ - The funding projections announced by the
McGuinty government for 2007-2008 include an increase of $781 million for a
total of about $18.3 billion in education. Most of the new spending is already
committed and will fund new teachers, provide some flexibility to school
boards, and some improvements in transportation, French language education and
First Nations, Metis and Inuit education.
    "While today's announcement by Minister Wynne is billed as good news for
Ontario's publicly funded schools and the government can claim to address some
problems in the education system, some of the underlying problems in funding
remain," said Ken Coran, president-elect of the Ontario Secondary School
Teachers' Federation (OSSTF).
    Adding, "For those who still did not believe it had begun, today's
announcement of ten improvements to the funding formula certainly shows that
we are in a full-fledged provincial election campaign. OSSTF acknowledges that
steps have been taken in addressing some of the funding issues facing Ontario
schools. With many Ontario school boards still running the risk of deficits,
however, OSSTF will be anxious to see how this funding will be implemented and
if it is sufficient to address the real needs of students in the province and
sufficient to alleviate employee uncertainty and potential support staff
layoffs," Coran said.
    "While $35 million in funding for local program enhancements and
increased local flexibility to pay for increased music, art, physical
education programs or outdoor education activities may sound like a lot, it is
only about $7,500 per school. It will also do little to address funding
shortfalls in other areas of crucial support services such as professional
student services personnel, office and clerical staff, library and educational
assistants," he concluded.

    OSSTF/FEESO, founded in 1919, has 60,000 members across Ontario. They
include public high school teachers, occasional teachers, educational
assistants, continuing education teachers and instructors, psychologists,
secretaries, speech-language pathologists, social workers, plant support
personnel, attendance counsellors, and many others in education.

For further information:

For further information: Ken Coran, President-elect, Ontario Secondary
School Teachers' Federation, (416) 751-8300 or 1-800-267-7867

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