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Monday, May 20, 2019

When The Dust Settles?

For those of us in the Ontario Education System whether it be students, parents, teachers, staff, administration, trustees, consultants or whatever capacity, our heads have been in a continual spin this last little while. Be it in trying to understand the rationale behind the current changes and/or the consequences of them, we are being put to the test.

These next few statements maybe unpopular but are being stated to make you think. Do I believe in them by the end of this post that will be your determination? Has Education be too easy funded this past decade? Has there been direction and purpose in past Education Policy decisions?

Here is the funding memo for 2012, GSN 2012 Funding $21B. From this memo "Between December 2003 and the 2011-12 school year, the government has increased funding through the GSN by $6.5B, or 45 percent, while also making significant investments outside the GSN in school capital and FDK." (FDK became fully implemented and the funding moved to the GSNs in 2014.) This is the Technical Paper released with the 2014 GSNs GSN 2014 Funding of $22.53B Here is 2018's memo 2018 GSN Funding of $23.9B. Per pupil funding of $12,300.This is the Memo for the 2019 GSN GSN 2019  Funding of  $24.66B Per student funding of $12,246. We are still waiting for the 2019 Technical papers.

Can one compare beyond the total numbers the increases in Education Funding from year to year? With great difficulty, yes. Don't forget about the special funding, formerly known as Education Programming Other and now referred to as Priorities and Partnership Funds. They come and go from year to year so they can never be counted on. Capital Funding always comes into play. Don't forget Early Years and Childcare now fall under the Ministry of Education.

Here is the link to the April 2019 Budget. In March the Ministry released their New Vision for Education entitled Education That Works For You. Within it, Modernizing Classrooms, Modernizing Learning and Modernizing Health and Physical Education. Again the 2019 GSN and the accompanying Priorities and Partnership Funds. Now the 2019 Board Estimates. A lot of information to go through and analyze to determine things. Yet we still wait for the Technical Papers that break down how much, where, and how (requirements &/or restriction) these Funds can be used. The Grants fall under certain areas: Pupil Foundation, School Foundation, Special Education, Language, Indigenous Education, Geographic Circumstance, Learning Opportunities, Safe & Accepting Schools, Continuing Education, Teacher Qualification, Student Transportation, Declining Enrolment, School Board Administration & Governance, School Operations, School Renewal,  Interest.

On top of this the Government's Consultation of Classroom Size if not over until May 31st. Will things change again?

I think you are probably tired of number crunching.

But it is this $ numbers that determine what Education looks like, be it priorities, initiatives, staffing, course offerings, etc, etc. Go back to Education That Works For You. There has been a refocus on certain areas; math & literacy, and emphasis on others; SHSM & trades, and some new; e-learning. Secondary schools face the biggest challenge with the purposed changes in classroom size funding and the staff reductions and consequential loss of courses and student supports. This is what it looks like in the TDSB. Waiting on what it will look like within the AMDSB. We do know we are seeing a budget reduction of $2.6m +/-. Elementary and Secondary Teachers have received layoff notices. Here is the Guide to 2018/2019 GSN related to the finding areas mentioned previously. As you can see funding is allotted to certain areas with certain requirements, therefore, moving money around is not that simple. An example is classroom size funding, the recently announced change of funding from 22:1 to 28:1 has a direct connection to teacher staffing levels. To compensate for that loss where can the money be found to move around without making cuts in other areas? Many boards already struggle to cover overspending in Transportation and Special Education. One always has to remember there are differences between effectiveness and efficiencies within each of these areas.

For some reason, I keep coming back to the Liberal's Drummond Report 2012 and Hudak's 2013 Path to Prosperity to get a glimpse of what still may be coming.

The dust hasn't settled yet but I will say it will not be pretty when or if it does.

PS: I apologize for all the links.

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