Withdrawal of funding may result in closure of Peel elementary vocal music, core French classrooms for 2017-18
Peel District School Board trustees have written to the Minister of Education for a second time to request a meeting to discuss the discontinuation of top-up funding for Ontario school boards. On Oct. 14, 2016, Chair Janet McDougald wrote to Minister Mitzie Hunter to share concerns on behalf of the board about the discontinuation that has resulted in the closure of "empty" classrooms during the 2016-17 school year, and potential future music (vocal) and French elementary classroom closures during the 2017-18 school year.
"Faced with a $2.8-million cut in funding from the Ministry of Education for the cleaning of schools, trustees directed Peel board administration to use in-year savings and the board's Working Reserve Fund, if required, to prevent vocal music and French classroom closures in elementary schools this school year," notes Chair of the Board Janet McDougald. "Trustees' direction of funds is not a long-term solution. For help with that permanent solution, we turn to the ministry."
The Peel board expects to see further cuts—approximately $2 million—to facility operations for the 2017-18 school year as top-up funding is fully phased out. "We need the ministry's help to mitigate these costs next year and in the years ahead by revisiting its definition of a 'classroom' and what are considered 'empty classrooms' with respect to facility operations funding," emphasizes McDougald. "We understand the need to close empty rooms in order to deal with financial reductions and we are doing this where the rooms are genuinely 'empty.' However, I don't think any reasonable person would view any of our music and French classrooms as being empty."
As the board anticipates provincial grant (GSN) announcements and final budget development this spring, trustees welcome the opportunity to meet to discuss this important issue with the minister and her team. Representatives from Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 2544, Peel Elementary Teachers' Local, Peel Principals' and Vice-Principals' Association, and Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation District 19-Peel join trustees in this meeting request.
Media contact: Janet McDougald, Chair of the Board, 905-278-1402, [email protected]
Reference: Carla Pereira, Manager of Communications, 905-890-1010 ext. 2814, [email protected]