An equipment failure shut down Toronto’s entire subway system on Monday, June 8 and impacted over 100,000 riders. This shutdown certainly highlighted how integral the TTC is to our City’s infrastructure. CEO Andy Byford said that $2.7-billion is needed to complete all the work that needs to be done, pointing out that none of this work is of the “nice to have” variety.
Surely, the same could be said of the $14.7-billion of outstanding repairs in Ontario public schools. None of the repairs to roofs, boilers, fire systems and structural elements of children’s schools are simply “nice to have” – they are all things we need to be doing. Disrepair in schools impacts students and teachers every single day. Ceilings leak, causing some children to slip and hurt themselves. Boilers break down, leading some students and teachers to wear winter coats as they try to learn and teach. Lead is discovered in water, meaning students and teachers cannot drink safely from school water supplies. Stairs crumble in front of fire exit doors, placing children and teachers at risk. Luckily, most of what happens inside these Ontario public schools is pretty great and, as a result, most children head home happy each day. But one does wonder what would have to occur to highlight the funding needs of public schools across this province…and to highlight how integral public schools are to public infrastructure?