On December 8, 2016, Fix Our Schools had the opportunity to make this presentation to the Provincial Standing Committee of Finance and Economic Affairs in a pre-budget consultation meeting.
In large part, we referenced the 2002 Rozanski Report, commissioned by the PC Education Minister at that time, Elizabeth Witmer.
We study history to learn from our predecessors. In this spirit, the working group of the Fix Our Schools campaign reviewed the 2002 Rozanski Report, which analyzed the provincial funding model behind Ontario’s education system. We paid particular attention to the elements of the Rozanski Report that pertained to the funding for school maintenance and repairs.
After our review, we would encourage all provincial parties to review this report. The recommendations outlined by Rozanski would have served us well if we had instituted them 15 years ago. Indeed, our belief is if his recommendations had been followed, there may now be only a negligible amount of disrepair in Ontario’s schools.
However, Rozanski’s recommendations have withstood the test of time and, while 15 years later than would be ideal, his recommendations would still serve us well. It is time for our provincial government to acknowledge that debt financing is needed to deal with a $15-billion repair backlog that accrued in Ontario’s schools over the past 20 years. It is time to for our provincial government to admit that annual budget allocations alone will not address an issue of this magnitude.
“Better late than never” seems to be an appropriate adage to reference here!