The Ontario Public School Boards' Association (OPSBA) welcomes the provincial government's release today of the 2016-17 Grants for Student Needs (GSN).
"We recognize that financial constraints are the result of the Ontario government addressing the provincial deficit," said OPSBA President Michael Barrett. "Within these constraints, today's funding reinforces a strong school environment and the growth of student success. While this is true, many of our member boards have already been absorbing reductions in other budget areas such as special education and this has had an impact on their flexibility."OPSBA's contributions to this year's GSN process included a brief presented to the Ministry of Education and the pre-budget consultations in January 2016. The brief reflected the advice of school trustees, educators and school business officials on pressing funding concerns.School boards are responsible for the delivery of educational programs and services that promote student achievement and well-being. Today's early release of the GSN announcement allows school boards the opportunity to adjust budget plans, acknowledge school staffing timelines and be fully consultative with their communities.OPSBA is supportive of the government's priority to create community hubs. The concept of sharing school space presents exciting possibilities, but involves considerations that go beyond whether space is being used efficiently. The need for coordination and incentive among various entities - provincial ministries, local municipalities, other school boards, and social service agencies - is but one of many challenges.The inclusion of supplemental funding for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education is a welcome addition to the GSN, as is the commitment to move ahead on changes to the regulation regarding disposition of surplus school board real estate (Regulation 444/98). OPSBA is committed to working with the Ontario government and our provincial education partners to resolve issues and set directions based on a common purpose of offering the students of Ontario full opportunity to reach their rich potential.For further information: Jeff Sprang, OPSBA Communications, 416-340-2540