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CUPE questions school board funding

By Randy Thoms May 2, 2024 | 3:50 PM

The Canadian Union of Public Employees says the funding announced for school boards last week falls far short of what is required.

The provincial government is providing $28.6 billion for the next school year in a revision of the granting made available.

It says that is a 2.7% increase over last year.

President of CUPE’s School Board Council of Unions Joe Tigani says the new funding model will actually leave the per pupil spending under 2 per cent.

What’s been announced doesn’t do anything to meet the current shortfalls in school staffing, and it sadly doesn’t invest in more frontline staffing that would improve the lives of students and parents,” says Tigani.

He adds inflation has been 2.9% for the past 12 months.

He notes the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) has determined the difference between that real increase in costs and what the provincial government is going to provide is a loss of about $300 million for schools or roughly $141 per student.

“The frustrating thing is this provincial government has the resources to do so much better than these cuts, but it chooses not to.”

The union also takes issue with what is being rolled as a new funding model.

Eighteen provincial grants provided to school boards in the past have been rolled together into six funding pillars.

School boards were also provided with a 247-page technical guide that explains the formulas used.

Tigani says it makes it difficult to draw comparisons to last year’s granting.

“All Minister (Stephen) Lecce has done is made it more difficult for parents and education workers to compare how much money this Conservative government is underfunding schools from one year to the next.”

Clearly, Minister Lecce and Premier Doug Ford know they’re shortchanging students and parents again come this September.”