2015 Auditor-General’s report: a synopsis on school repairs falling behind from People for Education

The following excerpt is an excellent synopsis from People for Education on the 2015 Auditor-General’s. It was provided in People for Education’s December 4, 2015 E-newsletter

School repair falling far behind

Among the findings in the report, focused on education:

  • There are currently over 100,000 Ontario students in portables and 10% of schools are operating at over 120% capacity.
  • Approximately $2.6 billion worth of building projects to address overcrowding are submitted to the Ministry of Education by school boards each year, but over the last five years only a third of them have been approved.
  • Over 50% of schools are at least 40 years old.
  • The Ministry of education estimates that $1.4 Billion per year is needed to maintain schools in “a state of good repair,” but actual funding over the last five years has averaged approximately $250 million annually.
  • For the most part, new projects are favoured over repair and renewal of existing buildings, despite evidence that it should be the opposite
  • In 2011, the Ministry of Education hired a firm to inspect and assess the conditions of all schools that were five years and older. Eighty per cent have been assessed and the Ministry now estimates a total renewal need of $14 billion, with $1.7 billion deemed as critical and urgent (i.e., renewal work that should not be postponed due to risk of imminent failure).
  • The Ministry of Education allocates funding for school renewal based on an overall provincial formula rather than distributing the funding in proportion to individual school boards’ critical needs. The Auditor recommends changing that.
  • School boards can raise additional funds by selling schools with low enrolment, but many boards – for a variety of reasons and competing interests – are reluctant to do that.

To read the full report, click here

To read the Auditor’s press release on infrastructure spending, click here