Ontario's government says it will spend $330 million on a "Priorities and Partnerships Fund" to avoid teacher layoffs while a new education plan is implemented.
"With attrition protection funding support in place, school boards should have sufficient funding to avoid laying off teachers who may be impacted by our proposed changes," says Lisa Thompson, Minister of Education.
"Our government is taking a responsible approach to balancing the budget that restores confidence in Ontario's finances, while protecting what matters most, our world-class health care and education systems."
A government release states it wants a "modernized approach to education reform which will better utilize technology, give students the skills they need to succeed, protect front-line teachers and ensure every dollar spent benefits students."
"We are putting student achievement at the centre of everything we do to make sure students leave school with the tools they need to be successful both inside and outside the classroom," added Thompson. "We continue to invest more money into our education system every single year and we will ensure every dollar helps deliver the results parents and students expect."
Investments in Ontario's publicly funded education system through the Grants for Student Needs (GSN) education funding to school boards will be $24.66 billion in 2019-20, while per-pupil funding is projected to be $12,246.
The Ministry of Education provides the majority of its operating funding to Ontario’s 72 district school boards through the annual Grants for Student Needs education funding model.
"A new Attrition Protection Allocation will be included in the province's education funding model for up to four years, providing a top-up for school boards where the change in funded classroom teachers exceeds actual attrition and other voluntary leaves. This attrition protection funding will help protect front-line teaching staff and prevent the risk of layoffs due to class size changes or e-learning," says the release.
On March 15, Ontario released a new vision for education called Education that Works for You.
Meanwhile, the Ontario Public School Boards' Association is reviewing the 2019-2020 Grants for Student Needs (GSN) for impacts on school boards across Ontario but continues to have strong concerns regarding the impact of proposed increases in secondary class sizes and the implementation of mandatory e-learning.
Today’s announcement includes a year-over-year increase of approximately $130 million from $24.53 billion to $24.66 billion and a decrease in per-pupil funding of $54 from $12,300 to $12,246.
“We are recommending that the government take a second look at proposed secondary class size and e-learning changes through the ongoing consultation process,” said OPSBA President Cathy Abraham. “While we note that the new Attrition Protection Allocation will help ensure no front-line educators lose their jobs as a result of the proposed changes, significantly increasing class size averages from 22 to 28 and requiring secondary students to take four courses online will have a dramatic effect on both students and staff in secondary schools across Ontario.”
Decreasing the number of caring adults in a school will lead to loss of programming, said President Abraham. “This will hit our secondary schools hard. For example, students won’t have the range of course choices that they currently do and which help to keep them in school and to attain their future goals. Specifically, elective courses including those in the trades, technology and the Arts, are likely to be reduced if not eliminated as choices for our students.”