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ETFO: Ontario budget a desperate attempt by Liberals as election looms

March 28, 2018

Today's provincial budget represents a desperate attempt by the Liberal government to address some longstanding issues confronting Ontario classrooms. While the budget promises additional supports for students with special needs, it falls short of addressing critical structural issues with the province's education funding formula, according to the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO).

"With an election looming, the government has moved to improve special education funding and the number of grades 7 and 8 guidance counsellors but it has failed to address the education funding formula's broader structural problems that continue to shortchange elementary education," said ETFO First Vice-President Karen Campbell.

An independent review of the 20-year-old funding formula conducted for ETFO in 2017 indicated that:

  • funding support for students with special needs must be based on actual student needs rather than the current statistical model based on outdated census data; and
  • the gap between per pupil funding for elementary and secondary students means: Kindergarten and grades 4 – 8  students have the largest class sizes in the elementary and secondary school system; the majority of elementary students don't have access to specialist teachers in the arts, physical health and education and libraries; and English language learners and students at risk lack sufficient support.

"ETFO has made it very clear that an independent review of the education funding formula is long overdue. With time running out on this Liberal government, we will work with whatever political party is elected to continue improvements to our education system," added Campbell.

ETFO is committed to building better schools. Its Building Better Schools education agenda can be viewed at www.buildingbetterschools.ca. The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 80,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province.