On April 24, Fix Our Schools launched a letter writing campaign to send a clear message to Premier Wynne and MInister Sandals that funding solutions must be found to address the urgent issues that impact 246,000 students and their families.
The full body of the letter being sent is below and if you have found your way to this page and would like to send a letter, please click here:
Dear Premier Wynne, Minister Sandals, Deputy Minister Zegarac,
While governance of school boards is important, funding of school boards is even more important in resolving the issues that impact students’ daily safety, wellbeing, and ability to learn. The TDSB Governance Advisory Panel consultations exclude discussion of funding and, as such, delay the pursuit of funding solutions to urgent issues such as the $3.3-billion repair backlog, cuts to special education and overcrowding at 146 TDSB schools.
TDSB Governance consultations also exclude the Province’s role in governance, even though the Province has power over both the money and major policy decisions. In refusing to take any responsibility, your government is undermining public confidence in the TDSB. As such, will you please:
1. Start working with the TDSB and the City of Toronto to find funding solutions to resolve key issues such as the $3.3-billion TDSB repair backlog?
2. Start fulfilling your stated mandate of using schools as community hubs and acknowledge that selling off public schools is an incomplete funding solution to the $3.3-billion repair backlog and could be shortsighted? *Even if the TDSB were to immediately sell all 130 schools operating below 65% utilization (as per provincial calculations), there would be over $1-billion of repairs in the remaining 458 schools.
3. Release emergency funding immediately to repair all leaking roofs and complete every “urgent” repair currently outstanding at TDSB schools to ensure children attend school in safe, well-maintained buildings?
4. Commit that any recommendations from the TDSB Governance Panel concerning board reorganization, such as splitting up the TDSB into smaller boards, will not delay the Province’s pursuit of funding to the above-noted problems?
There are $14.7-billion in capital repairs needed right now in public schools across Ontario. The $11-billion your government plans to allocate over the next 10 years to building new schools and making capital repairs is grossly insufficient to address the current state of disrepair in public schools. Given the $14.7-billion capital repair backlog in Ontario’s public schools, the $248-million that was noted as a decrease in education sector expense in yesterday’s budget surely ought to have been used towards ensuring the two million children in Ontario who attend public schools learn in safe, well-maintained buildings.