Monthly Archives: March 2017

Toronto Mayor demands adequate and stable funding from Province; School Boards need same

Toronto Mayor, John Tory, has placed blame on the Province for lack of adequate infrastructure in Toronto, including transit and housing.  In a CBC News article entitled, “It won’t be “business as usual” until province funds Toronto’s needs, Tory warns Sousa”, Tory was quoted as saying, 

“So let me be very clear: Any closure of [social housing] units would be a direct result of the inaction of the other governments to partner with us in those repairs. Projects of that magnitude were never intended to be carried out by property taxes alone,”

Tory also has told the Province that the city needs stable funding that can be counted on and planned for from year to year.

Tory was also mentioned that provincial funding impacts citizens, and that he plans to listen to what funding ideas the other parties have, leading into the next provincial election in June 2018.

“Ahead of the next provincial election, Tory said he plans on sitting down with leaders of all provincial political parties and “canvass them for their ideas and their commitments to the future wellbeing of the city of Toronto.” 

School boards also need stable and adequate funding in order to ensure safe, well-maintained school buildings for the 2-million Ontario children who spend their days in these buildings.

For two decades, the Province has not provided the yearly funding needed for school boards to properly maintain their school buildings. In 2015, Ontario’s Auditor-General cited industry accepted standards when outlining that a minimum of $1.4-Billion per year is needed for school repairs. With this minimum funding in mind, the Province underfunded school boards for school repairs by $5.8-Billion between 2011-16.  Indeed, the Province needs to start taking the responsibility that comes with being the sole funder of public education in this Province and start implementing funding solutions to Fix Our Schools.

Ontario Alliance Against School Closures (OAASC)

The Ontario Alliance Against School Closures (OAASC) represents 49 school groups, 6 counties and 18 district school boards across the province, largely in rural and Northern Ontario. They emerged out of the belief that a local school is integral to the fabric of any thriving community and that no community should be isolated by having its local school closed. You can find out more about the OAASC here.

Fix Our Schools had the privilege of joining OAASC at a recent panel discussion hosted by CUPE and seeing this presentation by OAASC.


Rozanski Report – still worth implementing 15-years later!

After reviewing the 2002 Rozanski Report, Fix Our Schools found this 15-year old report to still be incredibly relevant today.

In 2002, Mordechai Rozanski conducted a comprehensive review of Ontario’s education funding formula and made recommendations to improve both the adequacy and structure of education funding in Ontario. Unfortunately, most of his recommendations have not yet been implemented. However, with a provincial election in 2018, all political parties are starting to pull together their platforms. We would urge all parties to integrate Rozanski’s recommendations into their respective education platforms.

The funding formula for education is not meeting the needs of the 2-million students who attend publicly funded schools in this province. Improvements are desperately needed and the Rozanski report provides a framework for doing just that.

Rozanski found the following issues with the provincial funding formula for school repair and renewal; and made the accompanying recommendations.

Issue 1: As of 2002, yearly funding to school boards for school renewal (repairs and maintenance) was $266-million for school assets valued at $28-billion. This was less than 1% of the value of the facility replacement value of schools. Established guidelines recommended that governments provide annually a minimum of 1.5% to 4% of the current facility replacement value of a building for renewal needs.

Rozanski Recommendations: 

  • Update the benchmark costs within the education funding formula and increase annual funding for school renewal to meet industry guidelines.

Where this issue is at today:

in 2015, Ontario’s Auditor-General issued a report stating that $1.4-billion per year ought to be allocated to school boards for school repairs and maintenance, a figure that represented 2.5% of the value of school assets in Ontario. Between 2011-2015, provincial funding for school repairs was $5.8-billion less than it ought to have been, according to these Ontario Auditor-General numbers, which obviously contributed to the ballooning deferred maintenance backlog.

In June 2016, the Liberal provincial government did announce $1.1-billion of new money over two years for school repairs (after significant pressure from Fix Our Schools and both the NDP and PC parties). This new money brought annual funding for school repairs in both 2015/16 and 2016/17 to the $1.4-billion recommended. Therefore, annual funding for school repairs is finally at a level that it always OUGHT to have been at!


Any responsible provincial government would protect a minimum annual provincial budget allocation of $1.4-billion for school repairs to ensure routine maintenance of the buildings in which 2-million Ontario children spend their days.

Issue 2: As of 2002, $5.6-billion of deferred maintenance had been allowed to accumulate in Ontario’s publicly funded schools

Rozanski Recommendations: 

  • School boards should secure capital financing needed to quickly address this deferred maintenance via debentures
  • Province ought to support school boards with $200-million of additional funding for interest and principal payments on these debentures

Where this issue is at today:

The provincial government never pursued the solution of debt financing to a degree that impacted the deferred maintenance backlog in Ontario’s schools. As of 2017, the deferred maintenance backlog in our schools has ballooned to $15-billion.


Our provincial government must admit that annual funding allocations will never address a $15-billion issue that took 20 years to manifest. Solutions such as issuing bonds to allow Ontario citizens to invest in our publicly funded schools must be considered.