This week, Ontario’s new Minister of Education visited a Toronto public school to highlight her Ministry’s new investments to help keep children and youth physically active inside and outside the classroom.
While we applaud Ms. Indira Naidoo-Harris for putting a spotlight on the physical well-being of Ontario schoolchildren, the location she chose to make that announcement is an ironic one.
At over 100 years of age, St. Cecilia public school has $4.4 million of disrepair, according to Ministry published data.*
The lack of adequate and stable funding from the Provincial Government for over two decades has left thousands of schools in Ontario in a similar state. School Boards have been forced to address only the most urgent repairs, leaving items on the “high needs” list to continue to get worse. Boards have not been able to choose repairs to do; those repairs have been chosen for them. For example, once a school roof starts leaking (which happens with alarming frequency across the province!), that issue clearly becomes the priority repair, since water will damage other parts of the building. Without proactive planning, the condition of the capital assets we call schools will continue to degrade.
Going for a walk seems a simplistic solution for students in schools that, because of lack of capital improvements, have poor air & water quality, no safety upgrades and unhygienic washrooms.
Fix Our Schools calls on the Provincial Government to give specific details on how they will address the $15.9 Billion repair backlog in Ontario’s schools.
*To see the repair backlog data for your school visit: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/parents/fci.html
For a list of the specific repairs needed at your school, the TDSB (a leader in repair transparency) publishes the data on each school’s individual website under “Renewal Needs”. We encourage you (if you are not with the TDSB), to demand the release of the specific repairs needed for your school from your local trustee. Every parent deserves to know what repairs are needed at their child’s school.