Spencer Higdon-McGreal is a grade 12 student who has attended three different publicly funded schools over his 14 years of schooling in this province. Fix Our Schools was so happy that Spencer was able to join us at our most recent press conference to share a student perspective…
“I’ve seen first hand how desperately our public schools need repairs.
Holes in the ceilings, peeling paint, buckets in classrooms catching water from leaky ceilings, burnt out lights, disgusting washrooms … are just a few examples of problems we see in schools across the province. An issue that is all too common at this time of year is heating, or the lack of it I should say. For the past four years at my high school, I cannot remember a winter when our boiler didn’t break at least once, sometimes for multiple days, leaving students freezing and unable to focus.
There have been classes where students had to wear their winter jackets in class. In fact, proper heating has been an issue at some point during almost every winter over my 14 years at school. This is inexcusable!
Ontario’s Auditor-General has confirmed that $7-billion OUGHT to have gone to school repairs over the past five years… but that only $1.2-billion actually DID go to school repairs. This is a $5.8-billion shortfall in funding – for buildings where Ontario’s 2-million students spend six hours each day! As a student, I find this prioritization of funding shocking, but I also find it sad. Students have come to think that crumbling classrooms are a normal part of public school.
Ontario is a wealthy province, we should be increasing funding to schools, not letting them get progressively worse. Schools are critical infrastructure in our communities and must be kept in a state of good repair.
I’ve seen enough that I could talk about this issue forever, but i’ll keep it short.
Today’s students are tomorrow’s future leaders and contributors. They need and deserve the best education they can get. With the enormous number of problems in our schools, students aren’t given the best. The Ontario government can do better, and must do better.”