Boards of education across the province learn of funding cuts after 4:30 pm on a Friday afternoon.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 18th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A Friday afternoon, days before schools close down the Christmas holiday, isn’t the time that senior people at the Halton District School Board have to expect to scramble and pow wow with the senior financial officer asking just what the document from the Ministry of Education means to how they are going to deal with a notice from the province that was skimpy on details.

The provincial government pulled a sneaky one – sending out a notice to school boards across the province advising them that significant cuts were coming last thing on a Friday.

Stuart Miller

Halton District School Board Director of Education Stuart Miller.

“We got the notice at 4:48 pm Friday afternoon” said Halton District School Board (HDSB) Director of Education Stewart Miller. “Based on what we know, it doesn’t amount to much at this point” it looks like we are not going to be able to continue with the Re-integration program we had that brought students who had not earned a high school diploma back into a classroom because they were missing a credit or two.

“We were given funds to hire people to find the students and work with those kids to get them back into a classroom where they could earn the last couple of credits and be given their diplomas.

Miller said the HDSB was able to find 71 students and get them back into schools and earn their diplomas.
School boards across the province don’t know much about just what is going to be done.

Going forward Miller thinks “We think we are going to have to deal with budget cuts in the 1 to 4% range.

The Ontario Public School Board Association issued a statement saying they “believed a strong and equitable education funding is critical to supporting all students.

“We recognize the government’s commitment to finding efficiencies across all sectors, including education, and although anticipated, the decrease, or in some cases the elimination of program funding is disappointing. These various programs had a positive impact for students in our system, and school boards are currently reviewing the local impact of this announcement. We continue to strongly advocate for stable public education funding that supports continuous achievement and well-being for all students.”

Miller pointed to changes the provincial Ministry of Education wants in the teaching of mathematics. HDSB has a Renew Math Program that the province doesn’t appear to want to fund any longer.

The Minister of Education, along with several other Cabinet ministers, have said they want to ‘eliminate waste’ without providing any evidence.

School boards across the province have small, at times inefficient but very effective programs that produce results with measurable impact.

Getting 71 young people back into a classroom so they can complete their high school educations is life changing. Can that kind of work be done efficiently? The results are the metric you want to measure with.

Tough times ahead for education, health and the way we take care of seniors.

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2 comments to Boards of education across the province learn of funding cuts after 4:30 pm on a Friday afternoon.

  • Luke

    Maybe I got knocked on the head but hasn’t this method of delivering bad news late Friday afternoons been in place for 15 years or so?

  • Hans

    This issue is a “no-brainer” – except for Doug Ford, apparently.
    An alternative metric is the net cost of NOT getting the 71 students back into a classroom so that they can complete their high school educations.
    It’s very likely that high school graduates will become more successful than non-graduates in their employment and (assuming they graduate) their incremental lifetime tax contributions will exceed the cost of the budget cut “savings”.
    Last, but not least…. a significant portion of any government spending is returned in taxes; e.g., the tutors who are hired to help the students complete their diplomas will pay income tax on their earnings.

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