On October 13, 2017, CBC reported on “Health worries at Regal Road P.S. after construction drags on”. The article raises concerns about the health of students and teachers at Regal Road Junior Public School, as construction work drags on well into the school year to replace the school’s furnace and deal with associated asbestos removal.
Parent Council member Stephanie Ayers says, “There’s been an increase in absences. For students that have breathing issues, asthma and that kind of thing, they are definitely having trouble. There’s one child in my son’s class who has gone home early every single day. Kids have been wheezing and coughing and at least one staff member at the school has been off since the end of September because of respiratory problems. Another child who has acute asthma ended up in hospital for four days and three nights, only to end up back in a hospital ER within 24 hours. That child has been kept home by the parent ever since.”
Every week, Fix Our Schools is hearing from more parents and teachers about the health and safety impact of the $15-billion of disrepair in Ontario’s schools. This $15-billion is not simply a number – it has real consequences to the children and adults who spend their days in Ontario’s publicly funded schools. It is also important to note that this $15-billion repair backlog accumulated over two decades, when provincial funding to school boards for school repairs was a mere fraction of what it ought to have been. In fact, when the Fix Our Schools campaign began 3.5 years ago, provincial funding for school repairs was only ONE-TENTH of what industry standards (and Ontario’s Auditor-General!) say is needed to keep schools in a state of good repair.
Today, the Province provides about $1.4-billion/year to school boards for school repairs and maintenance. Unfortunately, this is at the low end of what industry standards suggest is required annually to “keep schools in good shape”. Worse still, this new level of funding does not start to fix the $15-billion of disrepair that is a product of decades of grossly inadequate provincial funding. The Province provides all funding for schools and education so the real power for change resides within the provincial government.
With these facts in mind, Fix Our Schools encourages all parents across the province to take steps to ensure that their local schools are safe, healthy and well-maintained buildings by:
- Working with your Principal and local Trustee.
- Contacting your local MPP, the Minister of Education and the Premier as well.