CTV featured August 14 as a “sad day for the TDSB” – the day when the repair backlog in its schools grew to exceed $3.5-billion. Trustee Ken Lister has been tracking the growing repair backlog on his website and CTV felt it was important to highlight this issue (again!) for its viewers to mark this “dubious milestone”. CTV approached Fix Our Schools for photos of disrepair so you may see a photo that you sent to us in the TV clip.
What was not included in the TV clip above were a lot of the details below – which didn’t make it to air!
– The Province provides the funding for maintaining schools. Under their watch, $3.5-billion of disrepair has accumulated in TDSB schools and $15-billion of disrepair has accumulated in public schools across the province. Every single one of Ontario’s 72 school boards has a repair backlog.
– While many people blame Principals and Trustees for the disrepair in our schools, the funding for maintaining schools comes from our provincial government. School boards must strive to be as efficient and effective as possible with the money provided by the Province. However, over the past 20 years, there simply has not been sufficient money provided by our provincial government to ensure our public schools are kept in good repair.
– In 2014-15, the province provided only $2.27 to the TDSB for every $100 of repairs needed. No matter how efficient or effective a school board is, there is simply no way that $100 of disrepair can be fixed with $2.27!
– For 2015-16, the Province has substantially increased its funding to school boards for maintenance, acknowledging that the $15-billion of disrepair in Ontario’s public schools is a problem. However, even with this large increase in funding, TDSB Trustees and Staff will have to figure out how to fix $3.5-billion of repairs with about $156-million – the equivalent of less than $5 for every $100 of much-needed repairs. This is clearly an impossible task and so the repair backlog in our children’s schools will continue to grow.
– The time is now for the Province to acknowledge public schools as a critical part of our societal infrastructure and start working with school boards to find ongoing, sustainable sources of funding to ensure that children and communities benefit from public schools that are well-maintained.