too little to late

Teachers applaud education cash but say there must be more
Hamilton Spectator  Wed 15 Aug 2007    Sharon Boase  The Hamilton Spectator

Union leaders welcome the province's move to pour an additional $309 million
into Ontario's classrooms but say that it's too little, too late
.

"This has to go across the whole province,

to secondary and separate
schools," said Sandra Emery, president of the Hamilton local of the
Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO).

"Obviously, it's not going to work out to very much per student," Emery
said. "It's a step in the right direction but we have a lot of work to do to
restore the system yet."

Premier Dalton McGuinty announced yesterday that another $182 million (on
top of a $781 million funding boost announced in March) will be spent in the
coming school year. An additional $127 million will come the following year.

Education Minister Kathleen Wynne told ETFO members meeting in Toronto that
the new money means most Ontario school boards can operate without running a
deficit.

The money includes $41 million to hire 300 more vice-principals in large
schools and $52 million for more school secretaries and supply teachers.
Some of it will also go to primary teachers, education assistants and school
busing.

"The Liberals came to office in 2003 promising to fix the mess created by
the Conservatives," said Sid Ryan, Ontario president of the Canadian Union
of Public Employees. "Where has the Liberal government been all these years?
Why do Ontario families have to wait four years before the Liberals act?"

Mary Lachapelle, president of the Hamilton-Wentworth local of the Ontario
English Catholic Teachers Association, said her union is pleased the
government has recognized there are problems with the education funding
formula.

Finding the right funding formula is "forever a work in progress," McGuinty
said yesterday, adding the province ought to review the formula in another
few years.

Meanwhile, outgoing ETFO president Emily Noble told her 70,000-strong
membership to vote Liberal in the upcoming provincial election.

"What I'm encouraging my members is to vote for people who are supporting
public education and certainly this government has supported publicly funded
education," Noble said following a speech by Wynne yesterday.

"Mr. (ConservativeLeader John) Tory is very, very personable, but he's got a
major challenge. He does have the albatross of the previous Conservative
government and that's going to be a challenge for him," Noble said.

Noble praised Wynne, who received a standing ovation after her speech, and
said it's important she be re-elected in her Toronto riding — the same one
Tory is vying for.

sboase@thespec.com 905-526-2452

With files from Spectator wire services