We’ve been looking back on history in order to learn and move ahead in funding education in Ontario. We’ve gone back as far as 2002 to examine the Rozanski report on the education funding formula. In this post, we’ll only go back to 2015…
In December 2015, Ontario’s Auditor-General looked at school conditions in this province and began to examine how $15-billion of disrepair had accumulated in Ontario’s publicly funded schools. She used an industry acknowledged standard of allocating 2.5% of the value of your capital assets each year to routine maintenance to confirm that in order to keep Ontario’s schools in a state of good repair (which they clearly are not, given the $15-billion repair backlog in schools across the province), the provincial government must provide $1.4-billion per year to school boards to use on school repairs.
In June, 2016, the Liberal provincial government acknowledged that funding for school repairs had been inadequate for too long. Minister of Education Mitzie Hunter announced a new $1.1-billion investment over two years for school repairs. When this $1.1-billion was added to the money previously allocated to school repairs, the total investment in each of 2015/16 and 2016/17 added up to the $1.4-billion per year for school repairs recommended by the Auditor-General.
Kathleen Wynne’s government is now in the process of collecting input to forming the 2017/18 provincial budget. Surely, they will not go backwards and reduce annual funding for school repairs to be less than the $1.4-billion that industry standards recommend? Surely, we can count on our provincial government to provide an adequate yearly revenue source to school boards that they might endeavour to keep schools in good condition for the 2-million Ontario children who spend their days in these buildings? As per the presentation we made as part of the Pre-Budget Consultation, Fix Our Schools will be looking to Kathleen Wynne to allocate a minimum of $1.4-billion in 2017/18 to Ontario school boards for school repairs.
Students and teachers at Brookmill Blvd. Junior Public School were happy to return to dry classrooms this September after a new roof was completed over the summer.
In June 2016, the provincial government announced $1.1-billion of new funding for school repairs – to be allocated to Ontario’s school boards over two years. This money brings annual funding from the province for school repairs to the $1.4-billion per year that Ontario’s Auditor-General said was required to keep schools in a state of good repair. What this money doesn’t do is address the $15-billion of disrepair that was allowed to accumulate in Ontario’s schools over the last 20 years.
On June 27, 2016, Education Minister Mitzie Hunter announced an investment of $1.1-billion to repair schools across the province. Here is a detailed breakdown of how this investment will flow to school boards.
- An increase of $500-million to school boards to use for school repairs this summer; $460-million of the $500-million total will be allocated via School Condition Improvement (SCI) funding and $40-million via School Renewal Allocation (SRA) funding.* When added to the existing funding commitment of $500-million in SCI funding and $320-million in SRA funding, the total funding for school repairs this 2015/16 year will total $1.3-billion.
- An increase of $575-million to school boards to use for school repairs in 2016/17; $535-million of which will be allocated via SCI funding and $40-million via SRA funding. When added to the existing $500-million in SCI funding and $320-million in SRA funding, the total funding for school boards to use for school repairs next year in 2016/17 will be the $1.4-billion annual funding that Ontario’s Auditor-General said is needed to keep Ontario’s publicly funded schools in a state of good repair.
Fix Our Schools is pleased that this new level of annual funding for school repairs follows the Auditor General’s 2015 recommendation of $1.4-billion per year, an amount that represents the industry standard of investing 2.5% of a buildings replacement value in annual maintenance in order to keep that asset in a state of good repair. School buildings are public assets that the government has an obligation to keep well-maintained.
Fix Our Schools is also pleased that this money is being allocated to school boards based on their renewal needs and that the provincial government has committed to publicly posting detailed information regarding the condition and renewal needs of each of Ontario’s 4,900 public schools.
However, a $15-billion repair backlog has been allowed to accumulate in Ontario’s publicly funded schools over the past 20 years that is not going away anytime soon. Therefore, Fix Our Schools remains committed to working with all MPPs and School Boards to ensure that:
- The new level of investment of $1.4-billion/year starts to decrease the $15-billion repair backlog that currently exists in Ontario’s publicly funded schools.
- The issue of disrepair in Ontario’s schools is a major election issue in the next provincial election in 2018; and continues to be an important focus of our provincial government.
* Click here for more details on School Condition Improvement (SCI) funding and School Renewal Allocation (SRA) funding.