Countdown to June 13th: Which side are you on?
“After making around $50 million in cuts in April, primarily by chopping 134 FTE School Office Staff (around 200 members) and all 430 FTE Regular Program Educational Assistants, the Trustees have decided to go to their communities and speak to the ‘parents’ on what else should be gutted to bring the budget down an additional $58 million.
Here’s a suggestion for Trustees: Just Say NO! Walk away from this lose – lose game. It is “fixed”! You cannot remove $110 million from the TDSB without inflicting serious harm on ALL our learners. And no trustee was elected on a platform to slash and burn. None were elected to shed as many workers as possible to meet a budget set elsewhere. None were elected with the promise to sell off lots of schools which are the hubs and hearts of our communities.
Let Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal government do the cuts. Let those who are responsible for not providing enough funding to maintain the programs and services take the political fall-out. Assign a supervisor. Let’s see if he or she can do better (the last one couldn’t do all of the cuts, either).
Yes, the Liberals have put a lot of money into education. No, THEY NEVER FIXED THE FUNDING FORMULA — A KEY PROMISE — when they defeated the Harris (Progressive Conservative) Government with the help of all of us.
It is not good enough to fund all-day kindergarten (well, 90% of it, actually) if you don’t provide enough for such essentials as heating. That is just one small example. Add in the many such inadequacies in budget lines, year after year, and it is clear why the Toronto District School Board has a deficit of $110 million.
After 14 years of struggling with the budget, there is no “fat” in the system. We are facing what is known as a “structural” problem. We’ve been through this too many times to know that no amount of tweaking this or that will help.
“That’s why we have continued to fight – year after year – for the review of the REAL NEEDS AND COSTS of education and then fund appropriately. Until that is done, there should be a freeze on making any cuts to the education budgets. This should be not only in Toronto, but for almost all of the Boards in Ontario which are facing the same problems.
“Rather than continue with this charade that will lead to ‘death by a thousand cuts’, those who care about education will have to insist that the province take the responsibility for what happens when the funding is wrong. That is what “accountability” looks like.”
This article was recently shared with CPE by long-time community advocate, TDSB school community advisor and (along with the Hon Kathleen Wynne, CCNC-Toronto community leader, Doug Hum; Trustees Cathy Dandy, Councillor Shellie Carrol and many more) a founding member of CPE, Katie McGovern, Secretary of Toronto Education Workers, CUPE local 4400.