Members of Fix Our Schools were at Queen’s Park last Thursday, February 25 when the provincial budget speech was delivered. Unfortunately, despite their own Auditor-General’s confirmation that public school repairs have been grossly and chronically underfunded, there was no new money announced for school repairs in this provincial budget.
Premier Wynne’s government mentioned an $11-billion investment over ten years to help build new schools in areas of high growth, reduce surplus space through school consolidations and improve the condition of existing facilities. This $11-billion was originally announced in 2014 so this is not new money for school boards to deal with capital issues. Instead, this represents an average of only $1.1-billion per year for school boards to address the following capital needs:
- building new schools in areas of high growth
- school retrofits and building required due to closing of under-utilized schools, and last but not least…
- school repairs, which now exceed $15-billion across the province
Ontario’s Auditor-General confirmed that $1.4-billion per year should be given to school boards JUST for school repairs. Therefore, an allocation of $1.1-billion per year for school boards to address myriad capital needs seems to confirm that our provincial government is content to continue to underfund the very buildings where 2-million Ontario children spend their days.