Here are some things you need to know about your school’s repair backlog!
Ask your kids pointed questions about their school’s condition. Do they wear sweaters or coats in the classroom? Do the washrooms have stall doors and is there soap? Do they have a table to eat lunch at? Are there bugs on the floor? Is there water dripping from the ceiling? Are the stairs smooth and slippery?
2. School conditions affect your child’s learning.
You’ve spent all that time wondering how to improve your child’s math mark. What if it is the building? Research shows that poor school conditions affect learning.
3. Your principal is not responsible for the physical condition of your school.
A principal is responsible for maintaining a high standard of curriculum delivery at your school. This is a vital job that they must have time to do. Although parents often turn to principals for help, principals are not able to secure more funding to repair your local school, nor are they a construction manager.
4. Half of the repairs needed at your school are hidden from you.
Thinks your local school looks run-down? You can’t see behind the walls. Very few repairs have been funded by our provincial government over the last two decades, so there are structural/heating/venting/roofing/water issues at many schools across the province. This type of disrepair may not be visible but may be the most concerning type of disrepair.
5. Safety is a top priority when making repairs.
Work in partnership with your school council, principal, superintendent and trustee during construction to ensure that safety is everyone’s priority every day. Ask questions about how construction traffic will be kept separate from students, about air quality and temperature monitoring and about communication strategies.
6. All funding for school repairs comes from the Provincial Government.
School boards used to tax us directly and managed schools well. Now School Boards have no power of taxation. ONLY the Provincial Government provides funding for schools and in the two decades that the Province has held power over education funding, $15-billion of disrepair has accumulated in Ontario’s schools. Provincial politicians often blame local school boards for not being efficient … not spending the money wisely. However, three years ago when Fix Our Schools began, provincial funding to school boards for repairs and maintenance was ONE-TENTH of what industry standards suggest is needed to KEEP schools in a state of good repair. It is hard to hold school boards responsible when they were only receiving a mere fraction of what was needed to repair and maintain Ontario’s publicly funded schools.
7. Fix Our Schools subscribers can help secure funding.
We know that voters expect Ontario’s schools to be funded as essential infrastructure in our province, just like bridges and roads. You can add your voice to the growing support of this vision.
8. Your Board has a vision for state-of-the-art schools.
High tech, natural light, clean, eco-friendly buildings. We won’t get those schools as long as funding is so low that your local school board’s facility department can’t fix leaking roofs fast enough.
9. School Boards can’t be effective with unstable funding.
Imagine if your monthly grocery budget changed weekly without warning. It goes from $20/week up to $200/week and then back down to $20/week. You would not be effective or efficient in planning nutritious meals or buying wisely. School boards also cannot hire the best staff to affect repairs without stable funding.
10. School buildings are valuable assets that your parents and grandparents paid for and that you own.
Every year, companies that own buildings, such as banks, calculate 2% of the building’s value and spend that amount in routine maintenance and repairs to keep that asset in good shape. Ontario taxpayer’s collection of school buildings lose value when they aren’t repaired. The Provincial government is further wasting our tax dollars by forcing school boards to do repeated patches rather than full repairs and to conduct reactive repairs rather than proactive maintenance, which costs far less.