Toronto, March 29, 2011 – The Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) views today’s budget announcement related to education funding as positive evidence of the provincial government’s continued commitment to the value of a strong publicly funded education system.In 2011-12, Grants for Student Needs funding will be $21 billion – the per-pupil amount will be $11,207 which is a 4.6 per cent increase from 2010-11.
“OPSBA welcomes the provincial government’s commitment to sustainable funding that supports student success and well-being,” said Catherine Fife, President of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association. “Continued stability in our schools and continued growth in student success are deeply connected.”
OPSBA welcomes the government’s recognition of a mental health strategy for children and youth. The Association is working in partnership with many organizations across Ontario to create a strong voice for change and for equitable access to mental health services for students and their families. The newly-established Coalition for Children and Youth Mental Health believes that fostering social and emotional health as a part of healthy child development has to be a priority in Ontario schools. It has to be a priority that drives integrated public policy in the province.
“Investing in the mental health of children and youth is an investment in Ontario’s future sustainability, cohesiveness and prosperity,” said Catherine Fife. “There has never been a better time for Ontarians to join the conversation and advocate together for a concrete commitment to improved mental health supports and services.”
While education funding has been moving in a direction that recognizes the real costs of education delivery, there is more work to be done on aligning benchmarks with current costs. OPSBA seeks a resolution on these issues in a comprehensive review of the funding formula. A key aspect of this review is the significant effect that declining enrolment is having on Ontario schools and their goals for student achievement.
OPSBA recognizes the extraordinary economic conditions that exist today around the world and the impact that the economic uncertainty has had on government revenues. Understanding the financial challenges faced by the provincial government, OPSBA awaits the specific education funding details set out in the Grants for Student Needs that are expected Thursday.
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