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Doug Ford’s 2021 Budget Confirms Over $1 Billion in Cuts to Education, Ontario School Boards Say

Future spending increases will be below the rate of inflation

Ontario’s 2021 budget confirms Doug Ford’s government is cutting $1.6 billion from education.

As PressProgress reported earlier this month, a Ministry of Education memo to Ontario school boards warned that a $1.6 billion funding cut was in store for schools heading into September 2021.

The memo, titled “2021-22 School Year,” shows Deputy Minister Nancy Naylor acknowledged the “extraordinary steps” educators have taken to support students during the pandemic, but emphasized boards should expect $1.6 billion less in support heading into September 2021.

The Ministry of Education characterized the funds as “temporary” in the memo, however, it also indicated the cuts would eliminate thousands of jobs for principals, teachers, early child educators and custodians.

Ministry of Education

A review of school boards by the Toronto Star noted the $1.6 billion came from joint funding between the boards and multiple levels of government. The ministry itself noted the funding was used to hire thousands more education workers.

And, the ministry’s memo said the cuts will force boards to issue “redundancy notices” to Ontario teachers and education workers, potentially eliminating thousands of jobs across the province.

The memo identifies “principals and vice-principals, teachers, educational assistants, mental health workers, early childhood educators, professional/paraprofessional staff, custodians and other staff” as positions that could soon be deemed redundant.

According to CityNews, the 2021-22 budget includes “almost no new education spending.”

The government’s medium term expense outlook anticipates education spending to rise from 30.6 billion last year to 31.3 billion this year — a difference of about $700 million.

Government of Ontario budget

As the Ontario Public School Board Association noted, with the pandemic emergency funding, Ontario’s education sector  technically received $33.7 billion last year.

 

Over the next three years, the province’s reported education spending increases will likely be below the rate of inflation.

As CityNews notes: “The one-time COVID-19 related $1.6 billion funding for the education sector in the last budget is not being renewed.”

 

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