Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

November 02, 2006 13:04 ET

Education Funding Formula a Key Issue in School Closures

New guidelines only alleviate some of the stresses of closing schools

Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, Education Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO/ON--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 2, 2006) - The Ontario government has taken a positive step in announcing new guidelines for closing of older and underused schools, Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario President Emily Noble said today.

"We are pleased to see that school boards now must establish a review committee with community representatives to carefully consider the value the school brings to students, the community, the school board, and the local economy," said Noble.

"This is a strong recognition on the part of the government that school closures can have an emotional and often extensive impact on both students and communities. Schools are more than bricks and mortar; schools contribute to the student, the school system, the local economy and the community, and these contributions must be considered."

Noble stressed that while the guidelines alleviate some of the stresses associated with school closures, they fail to address a key underlying issue that forces boards to close schools, particularly in small rural communities.

"The education funding formula allocates funding to school boards based on a specified number of square feet per pupil. This results in school boards being penalized for operating schools with small or declining enrolments and puts pressure on boards to close these schools.

"The funding formula shortchanges elementary students. Under the formula, elementary students are funded for less space than are secondary students. This puts more pressure on boards to close elementary schools, schools that should be close to students' homes" said Noble.

"The government must address the funding formula problem sooner rather than later," concluded Noble.

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 70,000 public elementary teachers and education workers across Ontario and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.

Contact Information

  • Johanna Brand, ETFO Communications
    Primary Phone: 416-962-3836 ext. 2339
    Secondary Phone: 416-948-2554
    Toll-Free: 888-838-3836
    E-mail: jbrand@etfo.org