March 1st, 2019

Take deep cuts to classrooms off the table: Ontario NDP Education critic to Ford

QUEEN’S PARK — Marit Stiles, Ontario NDP Education critic, said that Doug Ford has just put families on notice that deep cuts are coming to their children’s education — cuts that Stiles says should be stopped before they hurt children.

The Ford government sent a memo to school boards, dated Feb. 28, telling them not to fill vacancies until getting budget news. That equates to an immediate cut, as teachers retire and take sick or parental leave; and it also signals that deep cuts are coming in the spring.

“Cuts to teachers and staff in education means larger class sizes as the Conservatives cram more kids into classrooms with fewer teachers. It means children won't be able to get one-on-one help when they need it. And it means already-stressed teachers will have to do even more with even less,” said Stiles. “Parents shouldn’t have to worry that their children won’t get the quality education they deserve as the Conservatives take their cutting agenda out on our children."

The news comes amid calls from school boards for more resources to support an anticipated influx of students with autism in classrooms following cuts to autism services.

The hiring freeze adds to the Ford Conservatives’ $25-million cut to education programs and $100-million cut to a school-repair fund. The Ford Conservatives have also been toying with dismantling all-day kindergarten and removing caps on class sizes.

“It’s absolutely disgusting that Doug Ford would risk our kids' futures like this,” said Stiles. “Andrea Horwath and the NDP are urging this government to take these cuts off the table, and invest in our classrooms to give young people the quality education and school resources they deserve.

"Children deserve more opportunities, and more chances to build their success — not fewer."