Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
OPINION Ministry gets a `D'
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 8 Mar 2006, p. 6

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Halton parents living in a new neighbourhood aren't likely to get a very satisfying answer to the question, when can we expect a new school to be built? That's partly because Halton's two publicly-funded school boards say they have been left in the dark by a Ministry of Education that has dragged its feet in developing a funding formula for new-school construction. Under the Mike Harris-- and later Ernie Eves-- Tory government, new school funding was triggered when a school board could demonstrate that enough surplus pupil places existed in a designated community. Under that old system, school boards were forced to close existing, often lower-enrolment schools to trigger enough pupil places to qualify for new school funding. It was an awful system that pitted older, established neighbourhoods against new ones in a sort of turf war over building new schools and preserving old ones. In Halton, many existing neighbourhoods had their souls ripped out as established school communities were first shortlisted for possible closure and then eliminated altogether. While Dalton McGuinty's government promised long ago to do away with this antiquated way of funding new schools, Education Minister Gerard Kennedy has yet to reveal a new and improved way of funding new places of learning. For more than a year Ontario's school boards have waited patiently for some good news-- only to be left hanging. It's an exercise in futility for school administrators to plan for new schools when they have no idea if those plans will pass the provincial funding litmus test. We would submit that this government has procrastinated long enough and that this lengthy delay in unveiling a funding formula for new schools is inexcusable. The inaction of Kennedy and his ministry has created an unnecessary accommodation crisis within Halton's Catholic and public school boards. To date this government gets a D in the subject of new school funding and is at serious risk of failing this term if it doesn't seek immediate remedial attention.

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8 Mar 2006
Personal Name(s):
Harris, Mike ; Eves, Ernie ; McGinty, Dalton
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OPINION Ministry gets a `D'