We heard the following from a head custodian who works with the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, which serves rural and urban communities surrounding Peterborough Ontario.
“The lack of funding for maintenance and infrastructure repair creates cascading problems. When we have to close down part of an aging building because we don’t have the funds to maintain or repair it, students get squeezed, and the learning environment suffers. When maintenance and infrastructure budgets are stripped of funds to pay for other vital but underfunded programs – like mandated small class sizes or full-day kindergarten – kids suffer. We know very well that the physical infrastructure of schools contributes to the learning environment of the child.”
This statement underscores the need for a provincial education funding approach that takes into account differences in geography, demographics and the age of school buildings when it comes not only to school renewal funding but also to operational maintenance funding. It also underscores the need for a provincial standard for building maintenance.
The $15.9 billion of disrepair that has accumulated in Ontario’s schools is due to the chronic and gross provincial underfunding for two decades…
- Underfunding of school renewal
- Underfunding of operational maintenance
- Underfunding of new schools
This situation is not sustainable. We need to truly fix our schools and also to truly fix the provincial education funding approach in Ontario.