Schools in disrepair: why?
The parent campaign, Fix Our Schools, has a series of answers:
“We are adrift in a sea of schools that are in appalling shape. The majority of Ontario schools simply cannot be considered buildings that provide optimum learning conditions. Who let it get this far?
“You might be surprised to hear that your property taxes don’t go to your chosen school board anymore. The present provincial funding process for schools (whereby the provincial government takes those taxes and doles them out as they see fit) is one of the reasons the majority of our schools have huge repair backlogs.
“This new funding process was meant to be beta-tested and re-examined regularly, but has continued without review for over 4 changes of provincial governments. Few of us are willing to read through the details of school funding so most of us assumed that our provincial government would provide sufficient funding to school boards to be able to regularly maintain and fix schools.
“You might have believed various Ministers of Education when they claimed that the money the province provided had just been squandered by the school boards. But the real story is that for many years the province was only providing ONE TENTH of the funding amount needed to repair schools to a good standard. No amount of finger pointing can disguise that. Fix Our Schools has demanded transparency and good governance from the school boards. You can read about the work that the TDSB, for example, has done to show this.
“Since the Province took over responsibility for education funding in 1998, we see a disturbing and ongoing trend of increasing disrepair in Ontario schools. In 2003, $5.6 billion of disrepair was estimated to exist in Ontario’s schools. Today, the amount of disrepair has tripled to an eye-popping $15.9 Billion. That is a scary number. And an even scarier reality for the 2-million Ontario students who spend their days in these buildings.
“Funding from the Province has also radically changed from year to year. Without stable funding your school board simply cannot plan. We expect our tax dollars to be spent wisely with thoughtfulness and planning. Instead, boards are forced to be reactive, not proactive in spending.”