January 23, 2019 Toronto, ON – In a pre-budget presentation to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs in Kitchener, the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) said the 2020 budget is an opportunity for the government to undo the damage it has done to public education. "Educators, parents, students and the public at large are looking for a change in direction – away from devastating cuts to investment in our public education system and the public services Ontario families rely on," said ETFO First Vice-President Karen Campbell. "We can draw a direct line between the current labour action and the cuts to public education contained in last year's budget. Increases to class size, inadequate funding for special education programs, funding cuts to programs that support at-risk students, threats of changes to Ontario's Kindergarten program and a reduction in overall per-student funding are damaging the quality of public education today and for generations of students to come." "This government has relied on a narrative of inflated deficits to justify deep cuts in public spending. The reality is that Ontario spends less per-capita on public programs than any other province or territory in Canada. Ontario is also last in the country when it comes to revenue generation," added Campbell. "It is time for the government to look at the revenue side of its budget and reverse the damaging cuts to public education. In particular, the government should increase funding for special education programs and supports, make a commitment to maintain the current model for Ontario's Kindergarten program and roll back damaging increases to class size." "There is also a need to reduce violence in schools, which is a symptom of broader issues facing the education system related to class size and lack of adequate resources to support students. The government must allocate funding for additional guidance counsellors, social workers, child and youth workers and mental health supports." ETFO represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province. Its Building Better Schools education agenda can be viewed at BuildingBetterSchools.ca.
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