TORONTO – Catholic teachers call on the Ford government to end the reckless cuts and use the 2022-23 Grants for Student Needs (GSN) as an opportunity to reset and proactively reinvest in publicly funded education.
“The Ford government has steadily eroded school funding since coming to office,” says Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) President Barb Dobrowolski. “These cuts have compromised the learning environment, with the lack of resources and supports exacerbating pandemic-related student learning loss and mental health challenges, despite the best efforts of teachers and education workers.”
“And now, instead of providing the resources and funding necessary for safer schools and a robust and equitable learning recovery, the Ford government is doubling-down on its plan to cut $12.3 billion over the next 10 years, widening inequalities, abandoning our most vulnerable, and harming a generation of learners.”
As next year’s provincial budget is developed, it is imperative that the Ford government use the GSN process, by which the education budget and funding formulas are set, to:
- support a robust learning recovery program, including committing to smaller class sizes, so all students get the focused, individual attention from teachers they need to succeed;
- expand school-based mental health resources, supports, and services, to achieve equitable outcomes and meet the diverse needs of students and educators;
- immediately end the failed hybrid model, and provide the funding necessary for in-person and online-only schools;
- address the $16.8 billion repair backlog and outstanding safety concerns in schools, such as crumbling infrastructure and poor ventilation; and
- implement other critical measures called for by Catholic teachers in our GSN submission.
“Already, the Ford government is going in the wrong direction, as evidenced by the missing $500 million in education funding from the Fall Economic Statement,” says Dobrowolski.
“The Ford government must course correct immediately. Ontario’s publicly funded education system is one of the best in the world, thanks to the tireless dedication of teachers, education workers, students, parents, and supporting communities, but the government’s reckless cuts, focus on privatization, and refusal to work collaboratively with educators threatens that success.”
Now is the time to reinvest. The Ford government must use the 2022-23 GSN process to correct for its mishandling of COVID-19 and strengthen our publicly funded school system with the necessary investment to benefit all Ontarians now and in the future.